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With Manmohan Singh all set to retain the country's top job, the prime ministerial ambitions of several leaders, including BJP heavyweight L K Advani and BSP supremo Mayawati, lay shattered on Saturday.
With Congress and its allies doing well and on the road to forming the government again, it is perhaps the end of the road for Advani's prime ministerial ambitions, while Mayawati still has age on her side.
The United Progressive Alliance had projected the incumbent Manmohan Singh as its prime ministerial candidate.
It was the first time the Congress party had nominated its prime ministerial candidate before the elections.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati, who had been the most vocal in articulating the Dalit aspirations for the top post, fared badly having put up the most number of candidates across the country.
Nationalist Congress Party leader Sharad Pawar, who was another potential candidate but never articulated the aspirations himself, welcomed the Lok Sabha verdict and stuck with the UPA.
"People were confident that only the UPA can provide a stable government and with the results and trends available so far, there should be no hindrance to formation of a stable government," he said.
Bihar chief minister and National Democratic Alliance ally Nitish Kumar, who was the most sought after by the Congress as well as the Third Front and occasionally dubbed as a candidate for the top job, is no longer key to the formation of the next government.
He has reasons to be satisfied with the performance of Janata Dal (U)-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance in Bihar and nothing more than that.
Meanwhile, Rashtriya Janata Dal's Lalu Prasad, who never hid his prime ministerial aspirations, came a cropper in his stronghold Bihar.
What makes his position worse is that he contested the elections in the company of two of UPA's erstwhile friends Lok Janshakti Party and Samajwadi Party to prove a point.