It will be a sweet-sour occasion for the Congress at the party's plenary session in Hyderabad towards the end of January.
The party may have come back to power in New Delhi after eight long years in political wilderness but the fact remains that the grand old party has been compelled to share the power.
The party is meeting at a time when the focus is more on the government led by it while the organisation is not in fine fettle in key states. The plenary will also be the first occasion when the Congress president and the CPP Chairperson will be a person different other than the prime minister.
The AICC meet will be the vindication of the policy of the 'coming together of secular forces' pursued by Sonia since she took over the reins of the organisation way back in 1998. In fact, the Congress under her leadership had given the first signals of being in readiness for coalition as it contended at the Pachmarhi brainstormingsession where it held that absence of one party rule was a 'transient phase' in Indian politics.
The meet is being organised against the backdrop of the Bharatiya Janata Party-Janata Dal (United) victory in the Bihar assembly pollsand ahead of assembly polls in five states, including West Bengal and Kerala where the overall prospects of the Congress are not that bright.
Asession is expected to highlight the achievements of the Manmohan Singh government, including the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme and the Right to Information Act besides the several gender equality legislations, which its allies also claim credit for.
Itwill also be the first major gathering where the generation next is also expected to occupy a lace of pride. The meet is likely to see demands for entrusting organisational responsibility on Rahul Gandhi.