Singh is King, Seeks Rahul for Cabinet

Akbar Khan

Bhopal: A zillion debates sealed, and red faced Opposition leaders and soothsaying scribes aside – even gods could not have scripted it better for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who on Saturday is all set to retain the coveted 7 Race Course Road address for, perhaps, another five years.

The hearty leader, who terms himself an ‘accidental politician,’ could not have asked for a better spread, as the result not only ensures his retention as prime minister, but also virtually guarantees longevity of his government by marginalizing ideological opponents and keeping allies on a short leash.

Among the first to congratulate Singh, on the Congress’ biggest poll victory in over two decades, were party president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul, who the party is projecting as the champion of the huge comeback witnessed in heartland states.

Sources suggest that Singh would call on Sonia Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence later in the evening.

After months of attacks over his trademark reticence, the Congress tally – now in excess of 200 – was the sweetest revenge Singh could have sought through the month long poll season that saw detractors launch huge campaigns to shred his term at the PMO.

Barely an hour after poll officials started counting votes at around 0800 hours this morning, a Congress victory was already visible and the party gathered more ground as the day progressed. So huge was the blow to an optimistic opposition that defeat was conceded around noon – without waiting for all the results to come in.

While party leaders attribute the colossal victory to the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh which was credibly complimented by a whirlwind poll campaign spearheaded by Rahul Gandhi, Opposition parties flabbergasted by the drubbing say the poll results mandated introspection.

Meanwhile, Rahul Gandhi having made political bones this election season, is a likely inclusion to Manmohan Singh’s cabinet, as the PM himself said that he would want the party to spare the young parliamentarian for ministerial duty this time around.

First indications of a Congress victory triggered celebrations across the country, and the jubiliant beating of ceremonial drums and fireworks are likely to continue late into the night, a stark contrast to the gloom that engulfed opposition camps.

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