Congress president Rahul Gandhi faced one of his worst days in politics yesterday. Besides running a disastrous campaign that left his party in tatters across the country, Rahul Gandhi could not even retain his own constituency Amethi, a family stronghold that he had won effortlessly since 2004.
As calls for Rahul Gandhi's resignation emerged, including from within his party, a gut-punch came from eminent historian Ramachandra Guha, who has been admiring of the Congress chief's great grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister.
"It is astonishing that Rahul Gandhi has not yet resigned as Congress president," tweeted Ramachandra Guha."Both self-respect as well as political pragmatism, demand that the Congress elect a new leader. But perhaps the Congress has neither."
In another post reacting to a similar assessment by psephologist Yogendra Yadav, Mr Guha posted: "The Congress should dump the Dynasty."
The Congress has won 52 of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, and has been wiped out even in the three states that it won in December. The BJP, despite Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's aggressive campaign targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, won a record victory.
Yogendra Yadav had caused a flutter with a tweet related to his comments to India Today after exit polls predicted a BJP sweep. "The Congress must die. If it could not stop the BJP in this election to save the idea of India, this party has no positive role in Indian history. Today it represents the single biggest obstacle to creation of an alternative," Mr Yadav had tweeted.
On Thursday, Rahul Gandhi said he held himself "100 per cent responsible" for the party's defeat. Asked whether he would resign, he said: "Let that be between me and the Working Committee."
The 48-year-old is expected to offer his resignation when the Congress Working Committee, the party's top decision making body, meets on Saturday to discuss the drubbing.
In 2014, after the Congress plunged to its worst national election performance with 44 seats, Rahul Gandhi had told reporters: "There's a lot for us to think about, and, as vice president of the party, I hold myself responsible." But the party rejected his resignation.