During one of his rallies in Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Congress would be reduced to three Ps- Punjab, Puducherry and Parivar. It happened, in fact quite literally with the Congress being reduced to the second position.
The Congress was however quick to offer support to the JD(S). Even if the two parties manage to form the government, it is still a blow to Rahul Gandhi who was nurturing huge ambitions for 2019. It may be recalled that during the campaign, when asked if he was a prime ministerial candidate, he had remarked, " why not."
Even if the Congress forms the government, this is in by no way a victory for the party since under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, there have been six electoral defeats. Rahul Gandhi had held 38 rallies and visited every district in Karnataka during the election campaign, but the party failed to touch the 100 mark.
Under his leadership, the Congress has lost Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya and Karnataka. A win at Karnataka would have boosted his chances and also become a front runner in 2019 in case of a grand alliance. With this defeat the party would find it hard to project him as the leader of any such alliance ahead of 2019.
The Congress says that the loss in Karnataka was due to poor caste management. Some within the party say that although they have lost, there would be some amount of morale boosting if it manages to form the government in the state.