The Congress machine was always there, infact, it was most powerful, before, during and after independence , with it's zenith under Nehru. The huge machine operators like Tandon in UP (the Congress boss there) were the kind of people who ensured the lock on Congress in Indian politics for like 40 years. It was IG who broke the "syndicate" and in some ways destroyed the Congress machine to get into power. It really is the loss of the machine in UP that is hurting the congress badly.
What's happened is an evolution from INC directly winning major states to regional parties becoming kingmakers. UP is hardly the only state that has seen this phenomenon - TN and AP too went the same way. There's simply too much diversity in the country for one party to effectively disseminate a message addressing the needs of disparate blocs in different regions. The issue applies as much to INC as BJP.
My point is that the INC has been much more efficient at making coalition politics work, at least in terms of general electoral results so far. However, their own reach and tentacles mean that when they get to power they have to disburse favors within party and coalitionwide. The assortment of scams seen during UPA-2 are merely very public debacles arising out of botched attempts to pass out favors in this manner.
Any INC administration will be characterized by these scams - it's the nature of the beast. That's not to suggest there will be none under an NDA administration, but they're still too politically naive to play the patronage game as ruthlessly as the INC, and they're more likely to see their coalition fall apart and lose a motion of confidence, than see things dissolve into complete misgovernance the way a UPA administration can - as is being currently demonstrated.
Well, I am sure you would realize that the current trouble with the Indian economy is all due to the impact of the POLITICAL economy on the structure and nature of the real economy! You cant have a discussion on that point without the underlying political economy. Or else, it will be a Panda like "watching the paint drying on the wall " and going Rah-Rah about growth rates or R&D about fall if any of some parameter.
That is absolutely true, and yet such a discussion will not happen here at length, simply because forum rules discourage the discussion of politics. The latitude this discussion has received here is due to the fact that the economic issues recently are a political creation far more so than any particular external drivers like commodity prices.
Any freewheeling discussion of the political issues invariably descends into the domain of strongly held personal political beliefs or the admiration/loathing of particular characters, which in turn leads to those holding opposite views attacking the other person (as demonstrated a few posts above). The idealist in me believes people can put aside their personal beliefs and just debate the topic clinically, but the practical side of me and forum moderation guidelines don't let me experiment with that idea here