After being stunned by the Gujarat debacle, the defeat in Himachal Pradesh on Friday came as a bolt from the blue for the Congress, becoming all the more pronounced as it came on its 123rd Foundation day.
While Congress President Sonia Gandhi was silent on what caused the jolt, senior party leader RK Dhawan admitted that the party was "not expecting" such an outcome.
"We fought the elections on the plank of development and our Government was instrumental in carrying out a lot of development. We were not expecting such an outcome", Dhawan, who is in charge of party affairs in the hill state, told PTI.
He said it was not possible to say at this stage what has gone wrong, but the reasons for the defeat would be comprehensively analysed. He said that the party suffered losses in Mandi and Kangra regions.
Dhawan's reaction on the Himachal outcome was at variance with the mood and feeling in the party with several party leaders maintaining during the campaign that the hill state was a 'lost case' in the polls.
He dismissed as "day-dreaming" of the BJP claims of the saffron party that the poll results were start of the "process of change" that will take it to the Centre.
The mood at the AICC headquarters was sombre and far from celebratory despite the occasion being Foundation day of the oldest political party.
Gandhi who unfurled the party tricolour to mark the occasion ignored questions from mediapersons on what caused the electoral setback.