An 18-month drive aimed at deepening the study and practice of 'scientific development' - President Hu Jintao's pet theory - will begin this month among the Communist Party's 75 million or so members, the Politburo decided at a meeting yesterday, according to Xinhua. A pilot campaign run from February to August in selected areas had proved to be a success, Xinhua said. Now it needed to spread to the grass- roots level, Xinhua quoted the Politburo as saying. Party organs from the township level up were instructed to treat the study of Mr Hu's political theory as one of their top priorities and 'meticulously' implement it, Xinhua said. The political platform of 'scientific development', Mr Hu's catchphrase for sustainable, energy-efficient economic development rather than breakneck growth at the expense of the environment, was written into the party's constitution at its national congress last year. Analysts said this would pave for the way for the president to join the pantheon of China's socialist greats. Friday's meeting, chaired by Mr Hu - who is also the party's general secretary - emphasised presenting his political doctrine as the newest and most advanced Communist theory. 'The theory ... is not only in the same spirit as Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important Theory of the Three Represents [of Jiang Zemin], but also keeps up with the times,' the statement issued by the Politburo said. 'It is an important guideline for the country's economic and social development.' Mr Hu, who at 59 became the youngest party head in its history six years ago, is apparently eyeing a political legacy on par with all previous major communist figures, analysts say. The past month has seen him assemble a considerable store of political capital by overseeing an Olympics hailed as 'truly exceptional' by International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge. The 17-day Beijing Olympics, widely touted beforehand as one of the most politicised Games of all time - and with huge potential for trouble as a magnet for political protests or extremist attacks - passed off remarkably smoothly. What's more, to a large degree the country emerged from the Games more assured and confident, which will boost the Communist Party's political credentials. Mr Hu's personal popularity also seemed to rise during the Games as he shook off his usually uptight image by chatting and even joking with foreign journalists and visiting venues in casual clothes to gee up athletes. The first year of his second and final term as party chief is likely to end on a high note in December when the Communist Party celebrates the 30th anniversary of its policies of reform and opening up.