It hasn’t been a great day for India’s ruling Congress Party. First Rahul Gandhi, the popular scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, which has ruled India off and on for decades, was ruled to be out of the running for the premiership in the country’s upcoming national election. Then tragedy struck: the wife of Shashi Tharoor, the Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development, who is well-liked inside and outside India, was found dead in a Delhi hotel room. She apparently took her own life.At a “major gathering” for the party earlier in the day, Rahul’s mother Sonia Gandhi, Congress’s President, made it clear her son would not be running for the post of Prime Minister. “We took a decision on Rahul yesterday, and the decision is final,” she said. During her speech chants in favor of Rahul running for the post rang out from the audience, at times drowning out Sonia’s words. Rahul eventually tried to placate the crowd, which seemed disappointed that he was not yet going to accept the family duty of running the country. Later he gave an impassioned speech in which he blasted Congress’s rivals: “We do not respond by turning people against one another, by lighting fires of communal hatred,” he said to resounding applause. And he vowed to clean up Indian voters’ perception of Congress as corrupt, aging and inefficient: “Change is coming to the Congress party.”After Rahul’s speech, disappointment seemed to set in around the country. Arun Jaitley, a prominent leader of the opposition BJP, summed up the general atmosphere afterwards: “The nervousness is palpable now. Why puncture your card in an adverse political environment? There is no fire in the belly left to fight adversity.” Congress now seems leaderless and lost in the midst of the rising popularity of Narendra Modi, the former chai wallah now leading the BJP, and Arvind Kejriwal, a popular champion of clean government. Rahul’s capitulation makes Congress’s defeat in the upcoming election seem all the more likely.The news of today’s tragedy surely won’t help Congress’s prospects. Sunanda Pushkar’s death comes on the heels of a public dispute between her and Tharoor, her husband, in which his popular Twitter feed began strangely publishing accusations that he was having an affair with a Pakistani journalist. His wife at first claimed to be the source for the tweets, claiming her husband was having a “rip-roaring affair.” Later, however, the pair jointly issued a statement saying they were “happily married.”Taken together, these events amount to a pretty horrible day for the great party of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. Is Congress’s star fading? Maybe. Rahul certainly has a tough job ahead of him.