Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah, the saffron party has made huge inroads into one-time bastions of the Congress party. From a spectacular victory during the Assam assembly elections recently to surprising gains in Arunachal, Manipur and other north-eastern states, the Congress party has been in retreat for months and there is unlikely to be any reversal in fortunes over the near term. The trend is in keeping with Congress party fortunes across India. Whether it was in South India, especially Kerala, Andhra Pradesh or in central India or even in north, the Sonia Gandhi led party has been tasting defeat after defeat in almost all assembly or even pan-India elections (Narendra Modi emerged triumphant during the 2014 general elections unseating the Manmohan Singh led dispensation that had ruled for 10 years). The only comfort it had derived were from winning the Uttarakhand elections (the state is in the midst of polls now and is expected to lose despite the tough fight its CM Harish Rawat is putting up) and also when it defeated the BJP to win the Karnataka assembly elections – mostly because the previous BJP governemnt was hit by corruption charges.
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However, unwilling to give up without a fight as well as to prepare for a future turnaround in fortunes, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has targetted a revival right from the grassroots – the plan is to create a strong leadership base for the future. Gandhi has sent senior party leader in Kerala Ramesh Chennithala to Arunachal Pradesh with the mission to find out the exact nature of the problem and then report back to headquarters for a solution to be hammered out.
What is likley to keep Chennithala in good stead is his knowledge and past experience of working in the northeastof. He is expected to meet state Congress leaders to find out the extent of the damage done to the party – he is also the Screening Committee chairman for Manipur polls.