India’s electorate emphasized political stability and governance coherence in the 15th national elections in 2009. Predictions of a fragmented electorate and party system emboldened small groups to envision obtaining power in third and fourth fronts emphasizing regional, caste, ideological, and personality considerations. Instead, the Congress Party gambled successfully on a minimum rather than a maximum1winning coalition.
The Congress initially allied with a few partners in its minimal winning coalition, so as to highlight the Congress Party rather than the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition label. This successful strategic gamble provided more coherence, clearer messages, and a revitalizing leadership. Lacking only 10 seats for a majority, the UPA coalition quickly attracted other parties for a comfortable 2 majority (see Table 1.1 for Lok Sabha results by party, Table 1.2 for coalition formations, and 1.3 for party symbols).Prime Minister Manmohan Singh signifies integrity, continuity, and competence in the 2009 campaign, which contrasts sharply with contestants burdened by criminal charge sheets. More than one-quarter of the elected Members of Parliament (MPs) fall into this category. And that does not include major criminal/political figures failing to win 3seats. Party and Alliance leader Sonia Gandhi, in addition, represents dynastic continuity. It now is a long chain stemming from Motilal Nehru to his son Jawaharlal Nehru, to Jawaharlal’s daughter Indira Gandhi, other son Rajiv Gandhi, and now to Rajiv’s wife Sonia Gandhi.
For further reading please refer: Paul Wallace & Ramashray Roy , “Coalition Politics, Party competition and Congress continuity- India’s 2009 Elections”