In the wake of the demolition of the Babri Masjid in 1992, the Congress party had taken a real beating in the state. The only way to claw back into public perception would be to ally with another party that was beginning to make its presence felt in the state.
But over the years, with one thing or another, the Congress presence in the state got increasingly marginalised. Other regional parties like the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party, the other national party, began to take over the politics of the state.
But according to the pro-Rahul Gandhi point of view, it was high time that the Congress, the grand old party, returned to its rightful place in UP. After all, the battle for India was traditionally fought on these plains, and with 80 seats Uttar Pradesh was the straight road to Delhi.
According to this school of thought, which included Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh, the party would seek to reorganise itself in Uttar Pradesh and fight the battle alone.
"Rahul is not in a hurry. He believes he has time on his side. He wants to fight the battle in the long term, and believes the only way to do it is to reinvent the organisation," said an aide of Rahul Gandhi on the campaign trail in Uttar Pradesh a couple of weeks ago.
Even during his now-famous press conference, Rahul insisted that the party needed to be organised from the grassroots upwards and that he was not going to rest until he did so.
Election 2009 has vindicated Rahul Gandhi's point of view. Whether he sits in the Manmohan Singh Cabinet or not, the space in the photo-op will soon be filled.