India, Sept. 11 -- Five years ago, the Congress set the record for running a coalition government at the Centre for two consecutive full terms under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Now, the party is staring at its longest stint in the Opposition benches in Parliament after ruling India for 60 out of 72 years.

The Congress' longest stint so far in the opposition lasted six years, from 1998 to 2004, when the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government won the popular mandate in two successive Lok Sabha elections. After Narendra Modi returned to power for the second time with a resounding mandate for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA in May, the Congress has already gone past five years without power since M...