Pitchforked into the centre of the Congress poll campaign, Rahul Gandhi, touted as the future prime minister, has raised his political profile and emerged from his parents' shadow in charting UPA's return to power and helping the party's resurgence in Uttar Pradesh.
Representing the fourth generation of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty and the party's star campaigner in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections, Rahul's place under the sun highlighted the party's lack of alternatives and its continuing reliance on the first political family for leadership and direction.
39-year-old Rahul, who is widely credited for bringing young faces in the Congress at the grassroot level, has been learning the political ropes by spending time in his constituency and other villages, much to the discomfort of rival political parties.
Despite his reserved style, Rahul is worshipped as a living God in the neighbouring Gandhi constituencies of Amethi and Rae Bareli where his visits resemble religious festivals.
And it appears that he has been successfully able to transfer the affection felt for him in Amethi to other parts of the crucial state of UP where the Congress' support base has been crushed over the years.
Rahul appeared to be a big draw among new, young voters which may have contributed in the good showing by Congress.
After his appointment as general secretary of Congress, Rahul is the man expected to step up as and when someone is needed to succeed the ageing Congress Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.