Sources with links to Congress say that part of the problem is the complacency that comes - not just in India - when a government settles into a second term.
But there is a more fundamental malaise within the party: a deep uncertainty over its future leadership and vision.
Singh is effectively the head of a government managed from behind the scenes by Sonia Gandhi.
Party insiders and experts interviewed by Reuters, who asked not to be identified, said that during Singh's first term in office he managed to strike a fine balance between his modernising, reformist instincts and Gandhi's more pro-poor, populist inclinations.
While there has been no erosion of trust between Singh and Gandhi, that balance may be more difficult to achieve as an economic slowdown makes the need for market-oriented reform all the more urgent and the electoral challenges ahead incline Congress to a more cautious and welfarist approach to policy.
That tension may be coming to the surface already.
"There are conflicts within the Congress party," said Bhalla. "One side is liberal, technocratic, and the other side is feudal and old-fashioned - they do not want to see either new entrants in the political space or new ideas, and still believe playing politics according to the old rules of the game."
Image: Sonia Gandhi (Centre) listens to her son Rahul Gandhi, an MP, as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (wearing blue turban) looks on at a rally of the Youth Congress in New Delhi on November 29, 2011.