23 September, 2020

Identity Crisis

Sonia's Italian origin may be an issue in the elections. But is public perception polarised enough for it to be decisive?

Identity Crisis

EVERY poll pundit agrees that the forthcoming mid  term poll, the third in three years, will be a tussle bet ween Atal Behari Vajpayee and Sonia Gandhi. This time around, unlike in 1998 when she was merely the Congress’ star campaigner, Sonia is not only the Congress president but is also seen to be projected as its prime ministerial candidate, though it’s not official as yet. And as the battlelines are drawn, it is becoming increasingly evident that the BJP and its allies would like to pitch this battle as one between Vajpayee the Indian and Sonia the "Italian". The "swadeshi" versus "videshi" debate is already hotting up among the urban middle class and is likely to be a key poll issue. But how effective this plan will be as a vote- catcher is yet uncertain.

Very clearly, Sonia Gandhi seems to have an equal share of supporters as well as detractors. There are others who feel that they may not support her not because of her foreign origins but because of the question marks over her ability to govern. An opinion poll commissioned by...



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