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When India’s venerable Congress Party won just 44 seats in the 545-member Lower House of Parliament in last May’s national elections, thousands of hand-wringing, head-holding party members were forced to acknowledge what millions of Indian voters had long told themselves: The leadership of their president, Sonia Gandhi, and her cosseted son, Rahul, was suffocating the country, and the era of dynastic politics in India needed to end.

Many neutral observers felt something good would come out of this crushing reverse, and the party would reinvent itself. Eight months later, that assessment appears to have been false. After all, a crisis generates a state of high alert, an awareness of the need for swift corrective action

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