Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi crisscrossed all the five election-bound states, leading the party from the front in the absence of president Sonia Gandhi who for the first time skipped campaigning after joining politics in 1998.
Rahul held 68 rallies and road shows covering 71 assembly constituencies across the five states. Out of these, 54 were in Uttar Pradesh alone and covered 46 assembly constituencies in the country’s most populous state.
While the Congress V-P addressed six public meetings in Punjab, covering 15 assembly constituencies, he held five rallies in as many constituencies in Uttarakhand. Similarly, his campaign included two rallies in Goa and one in Manipur.
Out of all these, the Congress won in 11 seats (15%), Shiromani Akali Dal on five (7%), Samajwadi Party (SP) in four seats (5%), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in two constituencies (2.8%), Bahujan Samaj Party and Lok Insaf Party on one seat each (1.4%).
The BJP won in 47 of the 71 constituencies where Rahul held road shows and rallies, with the strike rate of 66%.
Prior to the campaign period in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul undertook a ‘kisaan’ (farmers) yatra from Deoria in Gorakhpur division to Delhi. During the month-long journey from September 6 to October 6 last year, he travelled 3,438 km, covering 48 districts and 141 assembly constituencies.
The Congress leader also held 26 khat sabhas (interaction with farmers on cots), 26 road shows and collected around two crore application forms from farmers seeking loan waiver.
This was the first time the 46-year-old leader undertook such an extensive campaign that lasted 26 days. During the course of his political career, which began in 2004 when he got elected to the 14th Lok Sabha from Amethi, Rahul had never led such a no-break exercise lasting for almost four weeks.
The maximum time he had spent in a poll-bound state since then was during the 2012 assembly elections—again, in the politically-vital UP. On that occasion, he addressed back-to-back rallies in Gorakhpur, Deoria, Ballia, Mau and Azamgarh districts in five days at a stretch.
The entire campaign from November 2011 to February 2012 saw Gandhi addressing 211 public meetings in total across UP through the course of 48 days. It was a record of sorts at the time, but the party failed to cash in, and ended up winning just 28 seats in the 403-member state assembly.
This time, the Congress tally decreased substantially and remained in single digits. The party bagged 7 of the 105 seats it contested in alliance with the SP.
Out of the 46 assembly seats he covered in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP won 38, SP 4, Congress 3 and the BSP 1.
In Punjab, his campaign covered 15 constituencies out of which the Congress won on 7, SAD 5, AAP 2 and the Lok Insaf Party in one constituency.
All the constituencies Rahul campaigned in Uttarakhand went to the BJP. In Goa, the Congress and the BJP won one each while in Manipur the BJP bagged the seat where he campaigned.