Limits of dynastic politics seen in polls

Limits of dynastic politics seen in polls
Various Indian national and regional political party flags and election campaign materials are seen for sale at a wholesale shop in New Delhi.

INDIA - India's just-concluded parliamentary elections have shown up the limits of dynastic politics to the country's ruling Congress party, dominated by the Gandhi family that has produced three prime ministers.

The party's likely response to the crisis: More of the same.

"We do not place much trust in the exit polls since they have been pretty wrong in the past," said a serving Cabinet minister and senior Congress party source. "But if there is going to be a debacle, it will be the responsibility of the entire party, not one or two individuals."

Exit polls that followed the end of voting on Monday project Congress, the party of independence, to crash to its worst showing.

All but one poll suggested that Congress will finish with fewer than 100 seats in the 543-seat powerful Lower House of Parliament, down from 206.

Some pollsters believe the Congress tally could fall to as low as 72 while the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) could win three times that number.

Indian media reports suggested that Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi will accept moral responsibility for the poor showing, when results are officially announced on Friday.

The attempt, apparently, is to ring-fence her son, Congress vice-president and two-time MP Rahul Gandhi, from the electoral fallout.

While Congress has not officially named Mr Gandhi as its candidate for prime minister, he has fronted the party's campaign.

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