Poll verdict may affect Cong future options

New Delhi: The outcome of the Assembly polls in five states, especially the dismal performance in Uttar Pradesh where Rahul Gandhi led a spirited campaign, could be a major factor in influencing the Congress actions in the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Political observers believe that the first casualty could be any talk of making Rahul Gandhi the Prime Minister before the Parliamentary polls. A better showing by Congress in U P like a win in at least about 100 seats could have encouraged talk of a larger role for Rahul.

On the contrary, they believe that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could breath easy unless the party wants a change of horse midstream around the time of the Presidential elections due in July. But still a major challenge that the UPA Government could face will be on the front of the economic reforms which already had suffered in UPA-II.

Trinamool Congress, the second largest constituent of the UPA after Congress, has already been acting pricey and was the main factor in the government`s decision to put on hold the FDI in retail sector. Later, she has also joined hands with the non-UPA Chief Ministers on the issues like the National Counter Terrorism Centre and the Food Security Bill.

There is an apprehension in the Congress that after the UP verdict, Banerjee could give more pinpricks to the government knowing that Congress`s options are limited.

Samajwadi Party, which has 22 members in the Lok Sabha and is providing outside support to the UPA Government, was also now in a better position to bargain with the Centre because of its spectacular showing in U P.

The U P verdict showed that Rahul Gandhi has been second time unlucky as the Congress failed to do much under his campaign in Bihar in 2010 like the debacle in Uttar Pradesh. In both the states, Congress had followed a `go it alone` policy. It could prove a dampner on the Congress plans to go it alone at the national level.