Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai has flexed his muscles again. But this time his target is not organised crime, which he declared war on more than a year ago. It is trees. 'We must plant as many trees as possible,' he announced on Wednesday at a meeting of municipal cadres according to the Chongqing Daily. And the reason? 'We can never go wrong with planting trees,' he said. Tree-planting was 'definitely in line with the 'scientific concept of development',' he added referring to President Hu Jintao's favourite catch-all slogan. So tree-planting has topped the list of the municipality's four priorities this year, which also include increasing farmers' income, building cheap rental houses for the poor and giving the old industrial city a major facelift. Conspicuously, although he vowed to continue with his anti-triad crusade, it was not on the list. The campaign was widely seen as Bo's calculated move to contend for elevation in the next leadership reshuffle. Bo, widely seen as a rising star, was put in the media spotlight during the annual legislative session this month because of the crackdown and the controversy that ensued. Analysts said the subtle undertone of Bo's tree-planting pledge showed that he was prepared to use his popular support to maximum effect in the face of recent setbacks. Of the nine sitting members of the Politburo Standing Committee, only He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang, who rank the eighth and ninth, have voiced support for his anti-mafia crackdown. The other seven, including Vice President Xi Jinping, have so far avoided making any comments on the crusade nine months after it was launched. He, the mainland's top anti-graft official, praised the crackdown, but that was at an informal event two days before the National People's Congress meeting. In Zhou's case, the security tsar made a formal appearance with Chongqing delegates towards the end of the NPC session last week, but state media made no mention of Zhou commenting on the crackdown. It is not the first time Bo has directed his political ambition to trees. A tree-planting campaign shortly after his appointment in late 2007 attracted controversy. Environmentalists complained that the government wasted money to bring in expensive trees from other provinces that could not survive in the region.