NEW DELHI – The ruling Congress party swept to a resounding victory Saturday in India's mammoth national elections, defying expectations as it brushed aside the Hindu nationalist opposition and a legion of ambitious smaller parties.
The strong showing by the party, which is dominated by the powerful Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, laid to rest fears of an unstable, shaky coalition heading the South Asian giant at a time when many of it neighbors are plagued by instability, civil war and rising extremism.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared victory, telling reporters that voters had given the Congress party-led coalition a "massive mandate."
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This is huge news. The political landscape of the Subcontinent has just had a tectonic shift. An India with a strong and popularly supported Central Government will be able to move in unexpected ways. The blow to the BJP was telling. They will have to reevaluate their Hindu Nationalist agenda among other things. The Nehru dynasty is back, bigger than life and twice as ugly. India has returned to Democratic Monarchy. All hail the new king Rahul Gandhi!
Things are going to get very interesting as this is going to ripple away from India in unforeseen ways. The effects will be felt from Af-Pack to China and beyond. India now has a strong center controlled by Congress. It is Sonia Gandhi and her party in a walk. She and her son stride the landscape like giants with the opposition politicians looking like so many Liliputians. One wonders if Hubris easily translates into Hindi. How about Urdu?