The Congress -- the Grand Old Party, the GOP -- has done it again. Belying the predictions both of astrologers and political pundits, it has decisively established itself as the ruler of the political roast. More emphatically so, in fact, than in 2004. The forces of both Left adventurism -- which held the UPA government to ransom over economic reforms and the Indo-US nuclear deal -- and Hindutva chauvinism have been put in their place. This is reason enough for two cheers. The third cheer might need to be reserved for the moment. Two clear and obvious dangers will confront the new, Congress-led government. Though it will no longer be hobbled by the shackles of the Left parties, who have unambiguously been discredited by the electorate, the new dispensation will still have to deal with the divisive forces of regionalism. Though its very respectable tally of seats on its own account will stand it in good stead, the Congress will, willy-nilly, have to share the bounties of office with its regional partners, each of who will seek to extract the maximum for itself. This could degenerate into a squabble for escalating claims. The other danger is internal to the Congress. Though Sonia and Rahul have constantly backed Manmohan Singh, and made it clear before the polls that he was the Congress's choice for prime ministership, the opposition repeatedly charged him with being a 'weak' prime minister, holding office at the behest of the Gandhi family. Even the Economist, while plonking for the Congress as its party of choice in the then-forthcoming elections, referred to him as a 'nightwatchman' PM. The so-called Congress 'high command', which really means the family, has to ensure Manmohan's pivotal position as both de facto as well as de jure prime minister. While Rahul has certainly won his political spurs with his successful go-it-alone policy for the Congress in UP, that is all the more reason that the new government publicly be seen to be just what the good Doctor ordered, and not the other way round. With the Congress victory, India is today placed in a unique position, with the world in the midst of an economic meltdown. Several economists have forecast that it is the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) who will help to pull the world out of recession, and in the process add enormously to their own economic clout. Of these four, China and India, in that order, are the two fastest growing, and therefore, in theory at least, the most important. But though China has an appreciably higher growth rate than India, the Dragon's export-driven economy has been badly hit by the worldwide lack of demand. With production of goods slowing for lack of foreign customers, pay cuts and plant closures have led to massive labour unrest across China. Thanks to increasing domestic demand, largely from the rural sector, and to the cautious credit and monetary policies of the Reserve Bank, though the Indian economy has felt the pinch of global recession it is far from being disabled by it. Indeed, today India stands a fair chance of emerging as one of the top economic players in the world. Our economic fundamentals are sound. But will our politics, and our politicians, allow us to rise to the opportunity of becoming a major economic power, or will they ensure that we sink to the challenge? India's democracy, flawed though it has long been, has been seen by impartial observers as being the single most important advantage that India has over China in the long run. Democracy's one-step-forward-two-steps-sideways dance mightn't make for as swift progress as that of totalitarian China's. But, over time, democracy ensures greater social equilibrium and stability than dictatorships do. This is the time for India to show the triumph of democracy over dictatorship. And for the Congress to show that the GOP is still the Grand Old Party. And not the Gandhis' Own Party.