It seems the knives are finally out in the down-and-out Congress. Senior party leader Satyavrat Chaturvedi, considered close Sonia Gandhi, has now questioned vice-president Rahul Gandhi's leadership following the party's rout in Uttar Pradesh Assembly election.
When asked if the party needs to go through changes after the Uttar Pradesh verdict, Chaturvedi said, "Ab karne se bhi kya hoga, jab karna chahiye tha tab kiya nahi (What's the use now? They did not do it when they should have)."
In his attack on the party leadership, Chaturvedi has broken ranks with his colleagues within the Congress.
Shortly after the Uttar Pradesh results showed the Congress's worst ever performance in the state, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad defended Rahul, saying the results are not a referendum on him. "If you hold him responsible for defeat, you should credit him for winning Punjab also," he said.
On questions being raised over Rahul's leadership, Azad said he was neither the Chief Minister of the state nor was the Congress the ruling party there.
Another Congress leader and the party's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "The Congress vice-president is known for his plain speak. When the Congress lost the 2014 polls after serving in the Centre for 10 years, Rahul Gandhi was not even a minister then, but he came forward and took upon the responsibility. The Congress leadership will take responsibility and take corrective steps in two states where we could not win. This is how Congress works."
The Congress, which had fought the Uttar Pradesh election in alliance with the Samajwadi Party, won just seven of the 105 it contested, a tally lower than the Apna Dal, which won nine. In further insult to the injury, the Congress lost all five seats in Rahul Gandhi's Lok Sabha constituency Amethi, with four of them going to the BJP.