New Delhi: The outcome of Assembly elections in five states on Tuesday came as a dampener to Congress as it did poorly in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, lost Goa, retained Manipur and emerged the single largest party in Uttarakhand, where it could grab power.

Uttar Pradesh turned out to be big disappointment for the party which finished fourth despite Rahul Gandhi himself leading the Congress from the front, as people fed up with the "misrule" of Mayawati saw the Samajwadi Party as a saviour.

It was a series of mistakes that appeared to have cost dearly to Rahul's 'Mission UP 2012'. They included off the cuff remarks, controversial comments and raking up of sentimental issues by senior party leaders including Union ministers.

Even Amethi and Rae Bareli, the pocket boroughs of Gandhi-Nehru family, gave a shocker to the party as it managed to win only two of the ten Assembly seats in these twin Lok Sabha constituencies represented by Rahul and Sonia Gandhi.

Despite Rahul's herculean efforts, the Congress could at the most manage just 28 seats in the 403-member House. It has won 20 and was leading in eight seats.

If it wins 28 seats, it will be just six more than in 2007 when BSP supremo Mayawati had ousted SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav from power. Its ally RLD won five and led in four.

In Punjab, Congress wanted to ride the anti-incumbency wave but was handed out a shock defeat by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP. Restricting the Congress to just 46 in the 117-member House, the ruling combine bagged 68 seats, just one less than last time.

The defeat in Punjab was a setback for the party as the leadership had go to the extent of declaring senior leader Amarinder Singh as the chief ministerial candidate, something rare in Congress.


(Agencies)