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'Congress can help India take global responsibility'

india Updated: May 18, 2009 18:19 IST

British newspapers on Monday praised the Indian voter for opting for the Congress, with one saying the party should use the better mandate to help India take on "global responsibility."

"Congress brought India to independence. It now has a chance to give it the firm government needed for global responsibility," said The Times in an editorial.

Welcoming the results of the elections, it said "investors hope that a new strong government will be able to accelerate the pace of economic reform, unhampered by the Communists and other obstructive parties that have held back many of Dr [Manmohan] Singh's reforms for the past five years."

"What is heartening is that the turnout was strong, the campaign remarkably free of violence or fraud and the result apparently decided on political lines rather than caste, region or religion."

Newspapers praised the national leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the strategic leadership of Congress President Sonia Gandhi and the campaign run by Rahul Gandhi.

Manmohan Singh's "steady, unflappable - if unexciting - leadership" had paid off, as had Rahul Gandhi's "intelligent campaign in Uttar Pradesh," The Times said.

The Financial Times, in its editorial, said Indian voters had delivered an "humbling lesson in democratic wisdom."

"?The results reveal Indian democracy's ability to push back against three profoundly centrifugal forces that have made big advances over the past three decades: caste-based populism; sectarian Hindu revivalism; and regional parties with a habit of holding the national interest hostage."

Crediting Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi for the party's good show, the FT had some harsh words for the Bharatiya Janata Party's campaign.

"Modernisers in the BJP could not cover up the stock-in-trade of anti-Muslim and anti-Christian bigotry of its flourishing Hindu supremacist wing," it said.

"The party's security hawks overplayed their hand after last November's terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The danger now is that they retrench behind a more undiluted Hindutva? whereas what India needs is a reforming party of the centre-right."