Congress president Rahul Gandhi, hit with two new defeats for his party just after taking over its top post, was the target of sharp digs from the ruling BJP as it won in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
- After two defeats, new Congress boss Rahul Gandhi targeted by BJP
- "In his opening innings, he scored zero," BJP's Manohar Parrikar
- Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "Congress accepts verdict of the people"
The Congress accepts the verdict of the people, Rahul Gandhi tweeted, thanking his party workers for "fighting anger with dignity".
Home Minister Rajnath Singh delivered a stinging jab at the new Congress chief, who had campaigned aggressively in Gujarat and taken on Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his home state.
"I won't say anything because he just became Congress president but 'sar mundwate hi ole pade (literally translated, hailstorm hit him as soon as he shaved his head, which implies bad luck at one's very first venture)" Rajnath Singh told reporters at parliament, where he also flashed a "V" for victory sign a la PM Modi.
The BJP is set to win a fifth straight term in Gujarat but by a lower margin of victory. The BJP has also snatched Himachal Pradesh from the Congress, which takes its tally of states to 16.
Manohar Parrikar, the Chief Minister of Goa, sneered: "In his opening innings he scored zero."
On Saturday, Rahul Gandhi, 47, took over as Congress president from mother Sonia Gandhi, who held the post for 19 years.
Rahul Gandhi has been Sonia Gandhi's number two in the party ever since he was appointed Congress vice president in 2013.
With more defeats than victories since the Congress scored its worst ever tally of 44 seats in the 2014 national election, Rahul Gandhi's track record is far from impressive. His critics even accused him of appearing disinterested in the party - and politics in general.
But Rahul Gandhi, the sixth generation Congress president from the Nehru-Gandhi family, appeared to come to his own as he plunged all-in into the campaign in Gujarat, showing no hesitation and finding more connect with the masses.
It was not enough for the Congress to pull off a victory in the state where the BJP has ruled for 22 years. The party, however, has performed much better than was predicted.