For Rahul Gandhi, the Uttar Pradesh debacle was a 'little down'. "In opposition, ou have ups and downs and we had a little down in UP," he said after his Grand Old Party won just 7 out of the 403 seats in the state. While many in the Samajwadi Party have criticised the decision to go with the Congress, members of the Congress too, have blamed the top leadership for the debacle.
Senior leaders in the Congress have fallen just short of blaming Rahul alone for the loss. They have sought for an urgent introspection. While this is the scenario in the Congress which realises the reality and gravity of the problem, it sounds very strange when Rahul terms the UP loss as a 'little down'.
On Tuesday, when he spoke with the media for the first time after the election results were out, he seemed completely out of sync. He tried to put up a brave smile and also seemed irritated at times. He in fact went on to blame the BJP for polarising the UP campaign.
Senior leaders Renuka Chowdhary and Digvijaya Singh continued to defend Rahul and said that he could be blamed for the loss. The important question is then, that who should be blamed for it? He was the face of the Congress all through the UP elections and even a tie up with the SP did not work.
Rahul did speak about the win in Punjab and coming first in the states of Goa and Manipur. However, the fact is that Punjab was won alone by Captain Amarinder Singh. In Manipur and Goa, it was the local leaders who ensured that the Congress took the first slot.
There is a message for Rahul from Punjab, Goa and Manipur. The local leaders have to be given a free hand as they understand the pulse better. Take for instance the Karnataka scenario. The Congress has lost a veteran, S M Krishna. He is definitely a factor to rope in the Vokkaliga votes which can be a decider in any Karnataka election.
Experts feel that the local Congress in Karnataka must tell Rahul to tie up with full-time politician Deve Gowda who can sway the Vokkaliga votes in a large way. If this is not done then the Congress would go the Andhra way where it lost out badly after a fallout with YSR Congress Party president Jaganmohan Reddy.
Looking at the Congress today, it is clear that the party is not ready to move past the dynasty tag. If not Rahul, then the party will look to Priyanka. Unless and until it nurtures young talent and the local leaders, it is game over for the Grand Old Party.