Faced with poll debacle in four states, Congress is expected to hold a ‘chintan shivir’ (brainstorming session) next month either in party ruled Himachal Pradesh or Uttarakhand next month.
It will be the first such exercise after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls which saw Congress securing its worst ever performance of just 44 seats in a House of 543.
A senior leader, who declined to be identified, said that such a programme is being finalised and most probably it will be held in a hill state. Karnataka, which is also a party-ruled state, could also be considered.
The brainstorming session is being held at a time when Rahul Gandhi’s elevation to the party chief’s post is being talked about in party circles.
Soon after the poll debacle, party leaders have said that a meeting of the Congress Working Committee to deliberate on the causes of the reverses would be held soon.
In 2003, Sonia Gandhi had organised a chintan shivir at Shimla where the Congress for the first time gave indications of its openness to share power at the Centre by calling for unity of secular forces. Next year, Congress-led UPA had ensured ouster of the NDA Government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
In the last chintan shivir held at Jaipur in January 2013, Rahul Gandhi was elevated as the party Vice President and was the ‘face’ of the party in the Lok Sabha polls.
The chintan shivir is being held at a time when the party is facing an onslaught from the BJP and the Sangh Parivar on one side and on the other, secular parties are attempting to eat into its space.
The Congress wants the unity of anti-BJP secular parties but does not want to have a national-level alliance with them.
A section of party leaders believes that it is facing a threat to its very existence the way the Narendra Modi-led BJP and government is targeting it and its leadership.
The Congress has a challenge at hand with a series of Assembly elections including in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, on the cards next year. Polls in Goa, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Gujarat are also scheduled in 2017.
First such chintan shivir was organised by Sonia Gandhi at Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh in 1998 soon after taking over reins of the organisation.