Deep pockets. Not required though I'd say as Congress with all the freebies being rolled out has good chance in 2014 and enough poor people who will vote for the few crumbs thrown at them from the humongous loot ! Congress readies Rs 500 crore campaign to play down corruption & hard sell achievements NEW DELHI: Its image pockmarked by a succession of corruption scandals involving the government, Congress has quietly launched a beauty parade of advertising agencies to pick the ones that will buff it up for the upcoming election season. Its single-point brief to the agencies: to play down corruption and hard sell its welfare credentials. Leaders in the Grand Old Party, which, according to insiders, has readied a war chest of up to 500 crore to be spent on a publicity blitz ahead of the assembly elections later this year and the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, have been reviewing presentations by a parade of agencies on how best they can package it. Eleven agencies have made presentations at the Congress war room at 15, Gurudwara Rakabganj Road over the past two weeks, a person familiar with the matter said, adding that a three-phase campaign is in the works. The campaign will be unveiled in the next two months, after it is cleared by Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi, while the second phase will be launched close to the assembly elections in November and the final phase before the general elections. Agencies such as Percept Limited, Equus and the Grey group, and PR guru Dilip Cherian are among those who have made the pitch for the account, said the person, who did not wish to be named. The Grey group was, interestingly, behind BJP's 'India Shining' campaign, which many analysts say contributed to the party's defeat in 2004. The second round of presentations is now on and the agencies have not only given creatives, but also proposed slogans for the Lok Sabha polls, the person added. The party has asked all agencies to prepare a separate plan for social media. A separate plan will be prepared for social media, given its thrust on connecting with the young and urban middle-class voters on social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. A separate social media committee, headed by Lok Sabha member Sandeep Dikshit, has given its inputs to the publicity committee. The Congress campaign committee has given a brief to the party's publicity panel headed by Haryana MP Deepender Hooda to shortlist advertising agencies. Senior leaders such as Ahmed Patel, Suresh Pachauri, Janardan Dwivedi and Jairam Ramesh often drop in during presentations and give suggestions while Gandhi will take the final call, a Congress leader said on the condition of anonymity. "The general impression within the party is that Congress has been unable to put its point of view across to the people effectively. The result has been misinformation on most scandals such as Coalgate or the 2G spectrum issue," the leader said. "This is why the party has given the brief to agencies that the campaign should address misinformation and play up the achievements of the government." The party's campaign will be different from the government's Bharat Nirman ad blitzkrieg, the leader said, adding that it will highlight initiatives such as the right to food and direct benefits transfer scheme.