The Congress' victory in successive elections, and that too with more seats and higher voting percentage on the second occasion, means that the country has returned to the safe and sound middle path.
Both the earlier lurch to the right and the recent dogmatism of the Left have been negated. Instead, the familiar moderation of the Congress with its emphasis on secularism and modernity has received a vote of confidence from a discerning electorate.
This is not the first time that voters have acted wisely. As their rejection of Indira Gandhi in 1977 for her oppressive Emergency, and their disillusionment with the Congress in the mid-nineties showed, they have always been shrewd judges of politicians and parties.
The Congress lost favour in those periods for two reasons - the taints of authoritarianism and corruption and the inept attempts, first, to please Islamic fundamentalists by overturning the Supreme Court's Shah Bano verdict on alimony for Muslim women and then cozying up to Hindu militants by unlocking the Babri Masjid gates.
Text: Amulya Ganguli/ IANS
Image: Congress president Sonia Gandhi looks on as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh talks to the media, at the former's residence in New Delhi, on Saturday, May 16, 2009. (Copyright AP. Unauthorised reproduction is prohibited.)
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