These are early times for a democracy. If America is our template, as it is in most things for the educated middle class, then a two-party system, one party slightly left-of-centre, one-slightly right, will be best, but that is possible only after 20 years or so.
Why 20 years, or three more elections, you might ask? I think that is time needed for Congress to get rid of its dynastic obsession and for the BJP to get rid of its anti-Muslim, temple-focused agenda.
In 20 years, we will have seen what Rahul Gandhi turns out to be. We will have seen the end of L.K. Advani, Narendra Modi will be a very old man and hopefully there will be younger men with fresh ideas on board.
These 2009 elections are just a minor blip in history. Noting like the momentous elections of 1977 [First Non-Congress Government], 1989 [end of Rajiv Gandhi's regime, end of single party dominance] or 1996 [first time BJP came to Power, for 13 days]
Odds are either UPA -Part 2 or a Fourth Front supported by the Congress or BJP from outside, in which case, one might see a shorter term for the 15th Lok Sabha.
The NDA only has 5 parties as memebers, down from 22 members when it was in power. Evemn among thesem five partiues, JD -U is leaning towards the third front.
The Congress may have decided to go it alone in many states, often going against its UPA allies the RJD in Bihar but stand s better chance of getting all its allies back in the fold after the elections. This time, one hope s though the UPA makes some Lok Sabha M.P. as Prime Minister, not some person who does not even stand for or win elections.
The last time the third front was in power, in 2006, we saw two governments within a span of 20 months and then another election.
Rest assured, whichever party or group comes to power, expect more political-business alignment as we saw in the SEZ controversy. Expect more Lok Sabha disruptions. Expect the growing desperation of the kinds of Lalloo Yadav and Sharad Pawar, who are getting old without ever being the Prime Minister of India they so badly want to be
There will be no surprise like in 2004, when NDA 'India Shining’ got a shock from 'Aam Aadmi' and Sonia Gandhi. After June 2009, everything will be back to normal.
Meanwhile, enjoy the IPL in South Africa.