As votes of assembly polls in five states are counted on Monday, Congress' ability to bounce back after a series of electoral reverses and BJP's ability to sustain the success will be put to severe test ahead of the battle for Lok Sabha due early next year.
Most of the states - Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi Chhattisgarh and Mizoram -- where the counting is being held are those where Congress and BJP are major contenders for power.
Mizoram in the Northeast is being ruled by Mizoram National Front (MNF) with Congress and United Democratic Alliance as its main opponents.
Stakes are high for both the Congress and the BJP in the outcome of the elections that are expected to serve as a pointer to the direction in which the electorate mood is swinging.
The Congress is particularly worried about the likely impact of the Mumbai terror strikes on the outcome in Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan. The Mumbai carnage that shook the nation took place on the eve of the Madhya Pradesh polls and a few days ahead of polling in Delhi and Rajasthan.
A hat-trick for Congress' Sheila Dikshit in Delhi would upset the BJP's plans to return to power in the national capital while the saffron party's Vasundhara Raje faces a test to retain power in Rajasthan where the Congress is posing a serious challenge.
Besides Raje, AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot and PCC president C P Joshi are among the prominent leaders who entered the fray to test their popularity. Elections to the 200-member Rajasthan assembly saw nearly 68 per cent turnout.