After a resounding performance at the polls, senior members of India's ruling Congress Party were last night meeting to pick their allies to form the next coalition government to rule the world's largest democracy.
They did so with the luxury and confidence of numbers. After the month-long election left the party just 12 seats short of a simple majority, Congress will able to form a government without relying on any of the country's large regional parties or, for the first time in many years, the Communists.
But the party and its leaders face a huge task. Tavleen Singh, a columnist in The Indian Express, said while she celebrated Congress's victory, as the party which has held power the longest in India, she blamed it for the country's broken infrastructure, decaying cities, child malnutrition and appalling education and healthcare. She added: “We have a government that has as full a majority as we have seen in 20 years. It has no excuse now not to deliver.”