New Delhi: From being the party in power less than a week ago, the Congress in Karnataka now faces the challenge of being relegated to the status of junior partner in a post-poll alliance with the Janata Dal (Secular), or JD(S). This scenario may arise if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is unable to prove its majority on the floor of the House.

With the Congress defeated by the BJP in more than a dozen states in the last four years, it is finding it difficult to maintain its position as the principal party of opposition, having to work as the junior partner in several states.

One of the key examples was being a third partner in the Grand Alliance in Bihar along with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Janata Dal (United). While the JD(U) eventually broke away to ally with BJP, the Congress continues to remain a junior opposition partner with the RJD in Bihar.

In Uttar Pradesh too, Congress entered into an alliance with former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party midway through the election campaign last year and ended up contesting only a fourth of the assembly seats.

“This is the need of the hour. We know that at present we do not have the kind of political clout we had say five years ago. We know our strength and weaknesses and right now the requirement is to form alliances wherever needed. We are on our own in several states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and the hill states. Every state has a different need and we have to strategize accordingly," a senior Congress leader said requesting anonymity.

Ahead of the general elections to be held next year, the Congress is aiming to form a united opposition front to take on the BJP. Even as Rahul Gandhi has taken over as the party president, his mother and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi continues to play a key role in reaching out to opposition partners. Even in Karnataka, she is credited with reaching out to JD(S) leaders personally.

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