So, almost everyone has been proved wrong! The BJP-led NDA has suffered heavy losses, with the gains being made by the Congress-led alliance and the Left parties. It looks increasingly likely that the next government in India will be a Congress-led government, with participation from the Left parties and some smaller, regional parties.
There will be plenty of post-mortem done on the election results, but in a nutshell, this has been a vote for a change. Everyone underestimated this sentiment which seems to have run across the board. At one-level, it is easy to say that the performance of the NDA in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh cost it the elections. But at a deeper level, there is a lot more that the voters are saying. This was, after all, an election that just 3 months ago, seemed like a cakewalk for the BJP and a rout for the Congress. How things have changed! In politics, even a month is an eternity.
What is very clear, though, is that alliance politics will continue in India, as has been the case for the past 8 years. Both the BJP and the Congress are likely to get about 150 seats each in the 543-member Parliament. The hope going ahead is that we will have a stable government which will continue reforms and have a progressive outlook. India and Indians (albeit still a very small segment) have seen a different, optimistic and “shining” future. The challenge now is to make the country develop as a whole. That is the only secret to winning elections.