The poor showing for the ruling Congress Party in the bellwether state of Uttar Pradesh suggests the government could be turned out in national elections ahead.
“The writing is on the wall,” says Yashwant Deshmukh, a New Delhi based political analyst. “Congress will not do well in the 2014 [national] elections.”
The party was counting on the dogged campaigning of Rahul Gandhi, who is a descendant of three prime ministers as the son Rajiv Gandhi, grandson of Indira Gandhi, and great-grandson of Jawaharlal Nehru. The party will now have to decide whether to delay fronting Mr. Gandhi as their standard bearer in national elections at a point when other leaders like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are advanced in years and hobbled by scandals within their governing coalition.
"The defeat in Uttar Pradesh is a good lesson for me,'' Gandhi told reporters. ''I led from the front in UP and the blame is entirely mine."