Sandeep Dikshit's willingness to call it like it is has made him an outlier within the Congress, which picked his mother, 74-year-old Sheila Dikshit, as its candidate for Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, before it allied with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. Today, as the Congress was reduced to roadkill by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's top-gear win in Uttar Pradesh, Mr Dikshit outlined the party's infirmities. Unlike the BJP, he said, the Congress does not invest in building leaders or backing them. He contrasted this with the BJP's early support for Mr Modi, which, he said, remained intact despite the allegations that as Chief Minister of Gujarat, he did not do enough to stop the communal riots in 2002 that seared the state, a charge rejected by the Supreme Court. "We don't have a system to build and stand behind a leader. 2002-Modi-BJP is a great example. Modi was actually a liability for the BJP...but they stuck by Modi, gave him an opportunity, and see where he has gone," he said.
Mr Dikshit, 52, spoke to NDTV as it became clear that the Congress' defeat in Uttar Pradesh - despite an alliance with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav - boldfaces what the party insists on denying- that it is in the midst of its worst crisis in decades. Under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi, who led the campaign against the PM in 2014, the Congress has racked up a series of huge losses. "Would you step down now if you were Rahul Gandhi?" NDTV's Prannoy Roy asked Mr Dikshit. Substantial pause, then - "I'm not Rahul Gandhi."