Before the elections started, I made a case for electing Dr. Manmohan Singh back as the Prime Minister in my blog post titled The Great Indian Tamasha Begins.... And, yes, I am relieved today.
For the first time since 1989, we are seeing a clarity in the voters' minds, which is reflected in clear mandate. Confusion or soul-searching (if I may say so!) of the last 20-odd years has now given way to a very clear signal that India wants political stability.
In a sense, this is a pathbreaking election for our nation.
A few days back, in one of the debates on NDTV 24x7, when strategists were debating on the possibility of a fractured verdict, the BJP's key strategist, Mr. Sudheendra Kulkarni had made an interesting remark that there only two political formations that can provide India a stable government - the NDA and the UPA. He went on to sthat BJP is prepared to support the Congress to bring about political stability. Jyotiraditya Scindia of the Congress, who was also there, acknowledged the stability aspect, but parried all questions to him on the Congress and the BJP working together. This points to clear observations - while we are gradually moving towards bipolar politics with bits and pieces of bipartisanship thrown in here and there, the politics of "untouchability" is very much there. And we can blame the Congress for that.
As mentioned in my blog The Great Indian Tamasha Begins...., BJP today is a very different animal when compared with the BJP in the Vajpayee era. The BJP will now go through a major churn, an "existential crisis" soon. Mr. L.K. Advani has already offered to resign. Mr. Narendra Modi might come to centrestage, sooner than later. But who ever leads the BJP into the next election would have to learn the art of weaving a "rainbow alliance" to remain a formidable pole opposing the UPA pole.
It is indeed heartening to see the decimation of the Left and the Behenji. There is a saying in Hindi "Jo perh hava mein jhukta nahi, voh toot jaata hai" - the tree that isn't flexible enough to bend in the wind breaks down. Winds of change have been blowing in India but the Left refused to bend. And the result is there for us to see.
Behenji till a few days back was called India's Obama simply because she comes from the underprivileged section of our society. But pragmatism calls for cultivating a positive image and weaving a web of inclusion. She has failed on both counts and be shunned and ignored to an extent that she will become a spent force in Indian politics.
Hopefully, this election would close down all the "parking lots" a terminology coined by Mr. Venkiah Naidu for the Third and the Fourth Fronts. Good riddance, I would say.
And on the Congress, it is indeed reassuring that Dr. Singh will be at the helm. He will be forming the government from a position of strength and needs to capitalise on that. Today, he doesn't have the baggage of the Left weighing on him. It's the time for him to blaze ahead with reforms - in the economic, security and defence, foreign policy, electoral, administrative spheres. I am certain Dr. Singh will consolidate his image globally as a respectable statesman. (In a sense he already is - President Obama's comments point to that.)
However, power of the extra-constitutional remote controls that have traditionally vested with the First Family needs to be kept in check. I trust Dr. Manmohan Singh to do that - he did just that before moving decisively forward with the nuclear deal. Also, the First Family needs to come clean on a number of allegations that have been made by Dr. Subramanian Swamy and Mr. S. Gurumurthy, which are explosive and serious, if true.
The Indian politician is a promiscuous species - they are ever ready to get into bed with anyone and everyone, irrespective of ideology or past-differences. I hope this election, with a decisive mandate, marks the beginning of their extinction. Hopefully in the future we'll not hear of suitcases being ferried across Lutyens' Delhi.
As the Great Indian Tamasha comes to its grand finale, we can heave a sigh of relief - we can hope to have stability for the next 5 years!