TCA Srinivasa Raghavan of Business Line does the predicting:
If the Congress manages to form a government in UP, or even manages to win enough number of seats, Rahul Gandhi would have “proved” that he is a mass leader in his own right, one to be reckoned with.
The path will be then cleared for him to become Prime Minister and to force an early election in the first half of 2013 on the perfectly legitimate grounds that he needs his own team.
The BJP under Advani will find it hard to come up with a fitting riposte. It needs Narendra Modi but will acknowledge it only after another resounding defeat.
If Rahul fails in UP, it will be business-as-usual. Manmohan Singh will continue as Prime Minister till 2014; Rahul will become Congress President and the 2014 general election will be a nightmare for the Congress.