After being crushed in the northeast, the Congress is celebrating a small but significant victory in Rajasthan. The party has won the by-polls held to several local bodies earlier this week.
The Congress has won four of the six zila parishad seats, 12 of the 20 panchayat samiti seats and four of the six municipal seats for which polls were on Tuesday. The party reads this as another sign of its comeback in the state, days after it wrested two parliamentary and an assembly constituency from the ruling BJP.
The Congress won 12 Panchayat Samiti or village council seats, and the BJP eight. In six Zila Parishads across Barmer, Karauli and Dungarpur, the Congress won four seats and the BJP one. The Congress also won four municipal seats to the BJP's two.
Though these elections were held at the lowest levels, the Congress sees a heartening trend in them.
"It is a yet another victory of party workers. In the last four years, the BJP has exploited people of the state due to its anti-people policies," Congress leader Sachin Pilot was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.
Mr Pilot said the Congress voting percentage has been increasing in elections held in the last four years and he predicted that the trend would continue in the state election due later this year.
For the BJP, it may be another warning after its recent by-poll losses; besides its defeat, it didn't perform well in a single assembly constituency in the Alwar and Ajmer parliamentary seats where by-elections were held.
The polls have not made a difference to the overall strength of the BJP, which still retains its hold over local bodies in Rajasthan.
The BJP controls 21 of 33 zila parishads and dominates 157 of 183 municipalities. All seven municipal corporations have BJP mayors.
But the Congress believes its win reflects the changing mood of the people in Rajasthan as the by-polls covered much of the geographical spread of the state, including rural and urban seats.
For the BJP, it is a worrying signal ahead of assembly polls. But the party's Ashok Parnami asserted: "These are by-polls. The Congress is misleading by projecting it as a great victory.
It's not. The BJP had won the local body elections convincingly three years ago."