Rahul Siddharthan: The (relatively) good guys won:
A recent US president said of the opposition: "They misunderestimated me." Manmohan Singh could well have said the same, only in correct English.
Because of his soft-spoken nature he has attracted charges of being weak, a puppet of Sonia Gandhi, and a temporary substitute for Rahul Gandhi. L K Advani attacked him viciously during the 2009 campaign, but it seems to have backfired. In fact, during his tenure, Singh pushed through the Right to Information Act, which he saw as one of the most important ways to improve transparency; he broke ranks with the Left to push through the nuclear cooperation deal with the US, and personally intervened with other parties (including some quite unsavoury politicians) to ensure that his government continued to have the support to last its full term; and, meanwhile, he let the Gandhis, Sonia and Rahul, focus on rebuilding the Congress party from the grassroots.
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Bhupinder Singh: Relieved but not enthused:
I am relieved that the UPA is back, and that the NDA has slightly declined. This is, however, not to say that one is enthused. The loss of the Left, BSP and the Lalu Janata Dal means that the UPA/INC’s gain has been mainly at the expense of the secular groups that have supported it anyway. The Left’s loss also means that there is no major opposition to the neo- liberal model expounded by Manmohan Singh, at least at the national level. It leaves the field open for the Congress’s autocratic ways. It needs to be remembered that the Congress party has fielded a record number of crorepatis and criminals in the 2009 general elections.