It has been a roller coaster ride for BJP in the last 30 years with the saffron party in pole position today after having a measly two seats in 1984. In stark contrast, the fortunes reversed for the ruling Congress in an unprecedented way as it saw the party's kitty dwindle from a record 415 during this period with results and trends indicating it may not get more than 50 seats.
The victory for the BJP in the saffron surge is also significant because India has not had a single party rule for 25 long years since 1989 during which coalition or minority governments have been in power. A Narendra Modi wave has catapulted the BJP to power after 10 long years in the opposition with its tally set to more than double from 117 in an election which saw the BJP Prime Ministerial candidate secure a huge mandate.
This is for the second time in independent India that an opposition party has come to power in such a manner, the earlier being the 1977 elections which was held after the infamous Emergency era that brought Janata Party to power.
BJP will be coming to power for the fourth time since it was founded in 1980 after the split in the Janata Party. Its first government in 1996 lasted for a merely 13 days and was dubbed 13 day wonder by Congress.
In 1998, the next government of the BJP via the NDA route lasted 13 months while in 1999 it again came to power leading the NDA in the backdrop of the Kargil conflict with the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee projecting it as a victory over Pakistan.
The largest number of 182 seats was won by BJP in this election. In fact, the BJP suffered its worst defeat in 1984 after the formation of the party. It could win only two seats in the 543 member Lok Sabha in the wake of the sympathy wave for the Congress following assassination of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Even Vajpayee was among several top opposition leaders who had lost in the election in which the BJP had secured one seat each from Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat respectively. For Congress, it is the lowest tally --which is less than the lowest ever of 114 in 1999.
Incidentally, both the record lows have come under the stewardship of Sonia Gandhi who has the distiction of being the longest serving president of the grand old party. Gandhi is at the helm of the Congress since 1998 after the party ousted Sitaram Kesari from the top post in the wake of the party losing the Lok Sabha election that year.
The results have come as a rude jolt for the Congress given the fact that it had been in power for 10 long years via the coalition route. Sonia started the first experiment of Congress sharing power at the Centre in May 2004 after remaining in political wilderness for eight long years.
While Narasimha Rao came to power in 1991 in the wake of assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, he ran a minority government for some time. Manmohan Singh, who was brought by Rao as his Finance Minister, ushered in the economic reforms that changed the face of India.
Incidentally, Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat since 2001, used the development plank to the hilt by projecting the Gujarat Model that appeared to have struck a chord with people hit hard by rising prices and corruption and growing joblessness in the backdrop of a global slowdown. Detractors of Modi raked up the 2002 Gujarat riots repeatedly accusing him of "zahar ki kheti" and polarisation of voters.
The election was also significant as the Left parties, fighting with their back to the wall, are set to register their lowest tally.