25 July, 2021

Selling Sonia

With a whirlwind successful tour of the South, Sonia revives Congress hopes

Selling Sonia
Indira Gandhi would never have envisaged this role for her Italian bahu. But there she was on the centrestage of Indian politics, orchestrating the resurrection of the Congress and emphatically reiterating the stranglehold of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty over the 113-year-old party. The Sitaram Kesris and the Pranab Mukherjees have suddenly faded into the margins with Rajiv Gandhi's widow leading the Congress challenge. Now more than ever before, a leaderless Congress is being totally identified with a single persona—Sonia Gandhi.

At the end of round one of her campaigning, it was clear that Sonia is following a strategy worked out to the last detail. The larger-than-life cutouts of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv, Sonia and Priyanka. The paeans of praise showered on the family by speaker after speaker. Beaming Congressmen unabashedly admitting that minus the family the Congress is a lost force. It all seemed to be focused on the key theme of the Congress campaign—'Vote for us. The family is back.'

There is no charisma-metre to quantify Sonia's appeal....

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