The gradual erosion of the Congress base in Madhya Pradesh can be attributed to several factors: Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's popularity, the impact of the Modi wave, a resurgent BJP taking on a highly demoralised Congress and so on.
But it is also irrefutable that after the shocking defeat of 2003, when the Congress was reduced to 37 seats in the 230-member Assembly after a decade-long Digvijaya Singh rule, the Congress has been beset with infighting more than presenting a decent opposition to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
In the latest incident, the discontent over ticket distribution in the civic polls, which was being felt in the first phase of the election, has now come to a boil.
It comes at a time when the bigger municipal corporations of Bhopal, Indore and Jabalpur are going to polls on January 31. State Congress president Arun Yadav and former Dewas MP Sajjan Singh Verma are being accused of hijacking the ticket distribution exercise.
The state presidents of three frontal organisations - Youth Congress, National Students Union of India (NSUI) and Minorities Cell - had offered to resign following the controversy over ticket distribution.
An aggressive Arun Yadav, instead of placating them, threatened to take disciplinary action against those criticising the party leadership in public.
After state Youth Congress president Kunal Chaudhary, NSUI state president Vipin Vankhede and state Congress Minorities' Cell president Mohd Salim announced their resignation, Yadav issued a diktat that anyone offering to resign in the media would be deemed so.
Going by this diktat, Chaudhary, Vankhede and Salim are no longer heading their organisations. However, senior party leaders dispute Yadav's authority to accept resignation of the three leaders.
"They are elected office-bearers and they hand over their resignation to their national president. The Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) has no jurisdiction to accept their resignation just because they announced that they have offered to resign," a senior PCC office-bearer said.
He further said the intra-party fight among leaders and charges that tickets were being 'sold', has demoralised the cadre to such an extent that it was in no position to challenge the BJP.
In the previous round of civic polls, when senior PCC office-bearers Manak Agrawal, Govind Singh and Premchand 'Guddu' had resigned over 'unfair' ticket distribution, Yadav had remarked that the party has given them so much.
The state Congress chief had also suggested Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh was behind the move as the three leaders were his supporters.
After the 2003 state elections, the Congress has tried four Pradesh Congress Committee chiefs- late Subhash Yadav, Suresh Pachouri, Kantilal Bhuria and now Subhash Yadav's son Arun Yadav.
All these four leaders have one thing in common - their inability to bring the party back on track and their inability to come out of Digvijaya Singh's shadow.
Until this situation changes to make way for a strong leader acceptable to all factions of the party, the chances of the Congress standing anywhere near the BJP appears to be a remote possibility.