BJP today mocked Rahul Gandhi, who has just been appointed as head of the Congress coordination panel for the next Lok Sabha elections, pointing out that he had led the party to a rout in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls earlier this year.
BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told newspersons that this is not the first time the Congress has reposed faith in Rahul. "Earlier, under his leadership, the Congress fought UP and Bihar polls. Now he has been given the responsibility of overlooking the General Elections. We wish him all the best and hope that the outcome is not the same like the previous occasions," Hussain quipped.
The Janata Dal (United) wondered why the 'crown prince' of Congress was getting so many chances despite successive failures in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. "Except for the Congress party and Sonia Gandhi, no one can see a spark in Rahul Gandhi," said JD(U) leader Shivanand Tiwari.
Even as the opposition cited Rahul's dismal track record, Congressmen averred that he will lead them to power again. AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh indicated that Rahul could soon be made the official no 2 in the party.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid was more effusive in his reaction. Referring to Rahul, he noted, "It is quite clear now who is our commander and sipah salaar in the fight that lies ahead...whose footsteps are we going to follow."
The minister claimed that Congress supporters are very upbeat about Rahul leading their election campaign. "You know the party is very excited; it has been demanding that apart from the work he has been doing with party youth and the support he is providing to Soniaji, he should now take charge," Khurshid added.
It remains to be seen whether Congress will fare well in the LS polls. The party is facing considerable anti-incumbency due to a series of massive scams, record inflation, sporadic reforms and economic slowdown. According to opinion polls, the electorate has become increasingly disenchanted with the UPA government.