The Congress has miles to go before it can be seen as a political alternative to form the next government in Uttar Pradesh.
It has been out of power in the state since 1989 and has been unable to connect with the people in the elections one since then. The 2009 Lok Sabha polls saw its re-emergence. So all eyes will be on it in the 2012 polls.
In the recent months, it has been able to keep itself on the centre stage by raising issues of public concern. Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's recent moves to reach out to the people to meet the victims of rape and murder have helped the party connect with the issues of public concern.
His decision to accompany Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Rita Bahuguna Joshi to file applications to get information about use of National Rural Health Mission funds and his 'dharna' at Bhatta-Parsaul villages outsmarting others have generated a lot of heat in the political arena.
Take the case of party's organisational strength. A number of district and city units are yet to be constituted notwithstanding the much-prolonged exercise of holding organisational elections.
The party leaders from Azamgarh were staging a dharna in front of the UPCC headquarters to demand early appointment of DCC president when Rahul was attending the state election committee meeting to decide the policy to announce candidates for 2012 assembly elections.
The UPCC had said the party would announce candidates for the assembly elections by May 31, 2011. Even after a month, the party has not been able to announce the candidates.
Besides the state centric factors, the party would also have to find convincing answers for its handling of issues like price rise at national level.