Friday, May 14, 2004

Sonia Gandhi's Congress Party wins a surprise victory in India's elections, and she's the favorite for the new Prime Minister.
India's Congress party is beginning work on building a coalition government after its shock victory in the country's general elections.

Italian-born party leader Sonia Gandhi has begun meeting key alliance members in Delhi, but has not yet indicated if she will be the new prime minister.

If she does, she will become the fourth member of India's legendary Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to hold the post.

She has vowed to try to form a "strong, stable and secular government."

Mrs Gandhi has been careful not to say that she is seeking to become prime minister.

In her first comments to journalists after the scale of the Congress victory became apparent, she said it was up to Congress members of parliament to decide on who becomes the new prime minister.

Many in the party believe the job is hers - should she want it.

The Congress party finished well ahead of the governing BJP-led alliance of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee who resigned as early results came in.

The BBC's Adam Mynott in Delhi says it is the huge mass of Indians - largely ignored by the BJP and who have no electricity, poor sanitation and filthy water - who have spoken.
First Spain, now India. Dare we dream...