Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's two-day visit to Karnataka from Saturday, is expected to give a fillip to the sagging spirits of the party, which is trying to cash in on infighting in the ruling BJP.
Ahead of Gandhi's visit, Congress too has suffered a jolt with party opposition leader in the assembly Siddaramaiah resigning his post, upset over the national leadership denying nomination to his candidate, former union minister C M Ibrahim, for the June 11 Legislative Council election.
Gandhi will address a meeting of the Youth Congress' national executive in Bangalore before leaving for Davangere to meet heads of district Congress committees and block presidents.
"The Congress hopes Rahul's visit will give the much needed impetus to strengthen the party organisation," Youth Congress leader Mohan Asundi said.
The party's choice of Hubli and Davangere is seen as significant as they fall in a Lingayat-dominated territory.
BJP in Karnataka is facing tough times with party strongman and Lingayat leader B S Yeddyurappa challenging the national leadership for not reinstating him as chief minister after being asked to relinquish his post following his indictment in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining in July last year.
Congress hopes to cash in on the internal bickerings in BJP and come back to power next year when assembly elections are due.
The party benefitted hugely from BJP’s infighting in the recent Chikmagalur-Udupi Lok Sabha bypoll, where its candidate Jayaprakash Hegde got elected. His victory for the seat, vacated by Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, has bolstered Congress' ambition to come back to power.
Congress is also closely watching moves of Yeddyurappa, who had on May 30 claimed the state is likely to go in for early polls. He has however been lying low for the past few days.
Last month AICC President Sonia Gandhi had visited Tumkur and met Shivakumara Swami of Siddhaganga Mutt, who commands influence among Lingayats.
Congress has been trying hard to come back to power after losing it in 2004 and faring very badly in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls in which it won only six of 28 seats.