India's BJP: King for a Day?

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NEW DELHI: The last time India's Bharatiya Janata Party was in power, its tenure stretched over 13 days. This time, says TIME New Delhi bureau chief Tim McGirk, it'll probably last as many months. After polling the most votes in the recent election, the Hindu nationalist BJP is being asked to form a government -- but it doesn't have a majority on its own. "They've had to form a coalition with a range of uncooperative regional parties who differ completely with the BJP on many issues, so it will once again be a very unstable government," says McGirk.

Which may be why the ousted Congress party has already set its sights on the next election. It is focusing less on forming a rival coalition than on persuading the charismatic Sonia Gandhi to take over the party leadership and give its campaign an early start. Few would contest that Gandhi's appearances in this election showed there's still some political mileage left in that name.