Indian stocks surged after the Congress won a surprisingly decisive victory
It is unlikely that Manmohan Singh will agree with me, but I believe that the Congress won the election not because of the Congress but because of Manmohan Singh.
It is rare to have a politician who is not a politician and is actually bad at politicking - someone who is plain-speaking, honourable and intelligent.
Such people do not usually survive the rough and tumble of politics, let alone be prime minister. India is lucky that such a person has.
During recent visits to West Bengal, a stronghold of the Left Front, I was surprised to find the respect which ordinary people had for Manmohan Singh.
But I need not have been surprised. For a jaded electorate it is refreshing to have someone like him in politics.
One remarkable quality of his is that, in this age of crony capitalism, he has maintained a careful distance and neutrality in his dealings with large business houses.
This has cost him clout but earned him respect.
Subliminally, the electorate associated the Congress party with him, and it is this more than anything else - not the drum-beating and slogan-shouting - that caused the resounding victory.
Mr Singh is an unassuming politician
At the risk of digressing, let me add that in terms of probity, the Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M) politicians of West Bengal measure up very well.
But their functioning has been hamstrung by some of their politburo members, who are high-handed and stuck on dogma.
I met Manmohan Singh for the first time in the late 1980s. We used to live in the east Delhi housing complex, Purvasha.
A friend of mine called to ask if he could bring Manmohan Singh - I knew of him as an economist and he was already prominent as a policy technocrat - to take a look at our flat.
He was looking to buy "a simple apartment", my friend explained.
I subsequently got to know Manmohan Singh well-enough to know that that would indeed be his preference.
Manmohan Singh never did move to Purvasha for, soon thereafter, he was appointed secretary-general of the South Commission in Geneva - and then in 1991 he became finance minister of India.
My mother was with me in Delhi at that time.
She has just turned 90 and is thrilled that the person who had come to look at our flat and talked to her so unassumingly has just become the second PM in India's history to be elected after a full term in office.
This election seems to herald a shift in India's democratic politics.
The voter has learned to look beyond the rabble-rousing and demagoguery to the content of policy.
Whether the people's verdict will be respected and Manmohan Singh given the space to shape policy remains to be seen.
That will depend a lot on the machinations within the Congress party.
The next few years are likely to be vital for India.
The Indian economy is at a curious juncture today. It faces, simultaneously, a crisis and an opportunity like never before.
The world economy is in disarray. India's growth has slowed and the employment situation in the nation is dire.
Yet in comparative terms, the Indian economy is doing well, maybe better than it has any time in recent history.
Last month the G-20 nations, which include all the rich and powerful industrialised countries and some developing ones, such as India, China and Brazil, met in London to discuss the global economy.
An interesting statistic about these 20 nations is that only two of them are currently growing at positive rates - China, growing at 6.5% per annum and India, at 5%.
All the other 18 nations are shrinking. Japan's annual growth rate in 2009 is expected to be minus 6.4%, UK's minus 3.7%, Germany's minus 5.2%, and France's minus 2.9%.
The electorate have reposed their trust in Mr Singh
The slowdown in India's growth rate that occurred this year (last year it was around 9% per annum) is almost entirely caused by the global recession leading to declining export demands and the slowdown of portfolio investment from abroad.
There was a time last year when it seemed that India would have its own sub-prime crisis.
But for a variety of reasons, some fortuitous but a lot to do with deft policy management by the Reserve Bank of India and the Indian government, the crisis was averted.
Much of this professionalism in Indian policymaking is because of Manmohan Singh and his advisers.
The global recession and the relative good performance of China and India herald a tectonic shift in the world economy.
If these turbulent times are handled well, India can be on the path of sustained development of a kind it has never seen before - and within a decade or two it could be, along with China, the new player among the major global economies, with the opportunity to shape not just its own and world policies.
This election outcome could have dashed that possibility.
All we can say is that it has not - now we will have to see if the country can seize the moment.
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