31 October, 2020

Shall We Tell The PM?

There is a deep churning in party and government. But the boss is still Sonia.

T. Narayan
Shall We Tell The PM?
Just days ago, at the Hyderabad Congress plenary session, giant hoardings and cutouts had screamed out just one message—that Sonia Gandhi's "sacrifice" of refusing the prime minister's post was unparalleled. That act of renunciation had elevated her in the eyes of Congress publicity managers to "Seethamma" (Sita) and "Thyagamurthi", an icon of sacrifice, and a riposte to the BJP's passion for Ram. And though the photographs of Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that flanked the plenary stage were of equal size, it was evident from the speeches of the delegates who the Supreme Leader was.

Nine days later—with significant changes in the council of ministers sandwiched in between—came Manmohan's second official national press conference. Sitting alone on a vast stage in Vigyan Bhawan, he took 55 questions—mostly polite, eliciting an equally bland response. He certainly looked more self-assured than he had during his first press conference at the same venue in September 2004, but his safe answers and his less than imperious manner spoke of a man...


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