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A thoughtful verdict for stability

May 16, 2009 13:21 IST
In the highly polarised and seemingly unpredictable general election of 2009 at a historic threshold of coalition politics in the country, the Indian people have given a clear-cut thoughtful verdict by voting for stability, predictability and moderation.

Indians have clearly opted for the centrist views in politics, diplomacy and economy.

While taking up the challenge to seek a renewed mandate from the people, the Congress projected Dr Manmohan Singh as the persona of predictability and stability in national politics. Sonia Gandhi provided much-needed balance in the Congress's public discourses. The Congress duo has obtained a pan-Indian approval. Nobody can doubt that after reading the much-awaited numbers.

The return of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh to the Congress fold will strengthen Rahul Gandhi. Uttar Pradesh was his laboratory and his thinking that Congress should go solo has produced remarkable results. The UP success will boost Rahul's legitimacy immensely if and when the Gandhi family wants him to lead the party and the government.

The hold of the Gandhi family over the Congress party was never questioned or never doubted but from today onwards the regime of the fifth generation of Motilal Nehru starts and the entire credit for ensuring that legacy goes to Sonia Gandhi.

What emerges unmistakably is that the Congress support-base is not restricted to any limited geographical area. From the south of India to the Gangetic belt of Uttar Pradesh has listened to what Congress has propagated.

The Congress-led incumbent government has got such a convincing mandate that it is well-placed to provide a stronger government than it provided from 2004 to 2009. People can heave a sigh of relief that a period of political stability lies ahead for five years. The Congress will talk about inclusive growth as it did last time, but in the coming days the stock exchange will have reasons to rejoice as the Left parties are out of New Delhi's power structure.

In contrast, L K Advani has failed to enthuse the people to vote for him. His attempt to become prime minister is turning out to be a stunning failure for him and his party. It is also clear that the Narendra Modi magic has not worked. His loud thoughts and aggressiveness has been rejected by the people in favour of a shrewd and experienced Congress leadership.

The Congress has proved once again that they have ways of handling people's dreams and realpolitik and the BJP is still an apprentice.

The BJP is humbled, but it has survived in most of the states where it is strong, except in Rajasthan. In other states, the Congress has won largely against regional parties and the Left.

If the BJP does genuine introspection, it will realise it has lots of steam to turn into a robust Opposition. More so because Congressmen have tendency to turn arrogant when they get a free hand at the seat of power.

The future of India will remain in the hands of mainstream parties and not with leaders playing regional politics, says Janardan Dwivedi, senior Congress leader. When the growth rate is plummeting and dark clouds of the world economic crisis seeping into India, the people have forsaken regional emotions for the broader national good.

To be sure, this has been largely helped by the performance of Dr Singh as a manager of the country's economy in times of uncertainty. Even in an era of highly competitive politics, the Indian electorate worried about impending economic downturn, have opted for Dr Singh's safe, tested and known hands at the steering wheel.

The Prakash Karat-led era of Left dominance in New Delhi is ending on a highly controversial and humiliating note. No doubt, the Communist Party of India-Marxist is being rocked to its very foundations. A historic turning point is at hand for the Indian Left, comparable in magnitude to the split in 1964. For the conceivable future, the CPI-M will be forced into a mood of introspection and a painful course correction.

The Congress has called the bluff on the idea of a Third Front. The fantasy of a Third Front in Indian politics once again has turned out to be a non-starter.

The results from Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu prove that the much-touted 'anti-incumbency' factor is vanishing from the Indian political ethos. This election shows that pro-incumbency card could work effectively if played with pro-poor actions as the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam has shown. It came to power for the first time in 1967. It is supplying rice to poor in 2009 at the same rate as in 1967.

In sum, the quintessence of Election 2009 lies is that India still remains what it always has been through millennia -- a centrist country of people who opt for moderation and balance, especially in troubled times in their tumultuous history.

Sheela Bhatt