Sonia Gandhi entered politics with a touching story of how she could not let herself escape the inevitable responsibility of leading the Congress party.
After all it was crying to be led by the only family divinely ordained to do so. The way in which her declaration as party high command came about and
what happened to the immediate predecessor is but a matter of fine print.
Her being a rank outsider, both in politics and nationality, a woman, widow of the assassinated Rajiv Gandhi meant she was the proverbial underdog in Indian
politics. Thirteen years later she has proved she is no underdog. In fact she is in the top 10 of the world’s most powerful list. Nine places ahead of
the Prime Minister (PM) of the world’s largest democracy. And the political opposition could only be wishing if only it did not make the mistake of underestimating
One would think that after having been at the top of the Congress party for over a decade and having manufactured a convenient power center for herself
under the United Progressive Coalition (UPA) chairmanship for about 6 years now, our media would take some time to evaluate her leadership, her politics.
But try as you might an honest, independent review of her years in public life is impossible to come across. Instead what we have is some fawning soft
focus features in mainstream media commemorating such momentous occasions as her 10 years in politics.
The only image of her that is allowed is that of a suffering, reluctant person who was forced to bow to public pressure to lead the nation. Election posters
of course follow a carefully crafted image. But what has happened under her command, what has transpired in both the UPA governments is completely ignored
by opinion makers. That cronyism, nepotism is prevalent in Congress party culture is not news but one of the identifying characters of the party. Sonia’s
leadership since 1998 has done nothing to change that. Instead she appointed her son, Rahul Gandhi, to important post in the party. The son too has been
lending sound bytes of trying to change the rotten system of ours but little has come of it since his entry into public life seven years ago.
Under Sonia Gandhi’s leadership we had the bad precedent of the unelected Manmohan Singh being appointed as our PM. Our democracy is being subverted ever
since. Playing with gubernatorial appointments in states ruled by opposition parties, intimidating non-Congress rules states through the federal government,
using extra constitutional routes for law making have been happening since 2004. Analysis, scrutiny of such acts however is missing. Instead we have the
curious coincidence of only benefits accruing to Sonia Gandhi and all criticism being absorbed by other Congressmen. When the erstwhile “honest” Manmohan
Singh was chosen for our PM, Sonia Gandhi was hailed for her sacrifice and excellent choice. Now that Manmohan Singh is being severely criticized for raging
scams on his watch no questions are being asked of her. When her appointees like ex Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ashok Chavan get caught in scams, again
no questions must be asked of her. When UPA coalition partners are accused and being investigated for severe scams Manmohan Singh should shoulder blame.
No blemish should ever reach Sonia Gandhi.
Then we have the case of her being personally involved in scams. Bofors is perhaps the longest running scam story. The brazenness with which Bofors cases
were closed was open for all to see. Personal allegations against her may have been in the realm of conspiracy theories in the past but that may no longer
be the case. Almost every major scam hitting the headline these days has some link tracing to Sonia Gandhi. The Commonwealth Games scam has a Robert Vadra
link. The 2G spectrum scam has links going to her. Yet stories in media on such links are no where to be found.
The other image of Sonia Gandhi is that of a caring, sensitive leader who has the aam aadmi’s interests close to her heart. Yet victims of the horrific
2008 attacks on our soverignity on 26/11 are yet to see justice being done to them. PM Manmohan Singh promised that to the nation in his televised address
immediately following the attack. But now we have him trying to make peace with the nation that blatantly refuses to take responsibility in face of a mountain
of evidence. The UPA power center is unmoved. A nation housing vast numbers of poor people suffers continued price rise burden. Inclusive growth promise
that apparently has a human face is not questioned here.
Sonia Gandhi herself and her inner circle seems to have carefully crafted a certain image of her. She has the habit of maintaining complete silence when
the going gets tough, instead letting some members of her inner circle do the dirty job of discrediting all criticism. But when there is a slight opportunity
for media worthy sound byte we have the benevolent, saintly Congress high command get out of her meditation and let a few words of wisdom out. When more
questions are raised she conveniently goes back to her meditation.
No opinion maker worth his/her salt has shown the courage to question and hold Sonia Gandhi accountable of all that is wrong in the Congress party and the
UPA government. She is allowed to enjoy leadership without the accountability that should go with it in a constitutional democracy. This continued mismanagement
is doing incalculable harm to our nation’s interests. But when wanting to be seen on the right side of power holder trumps need for honest scrutiny, such
abominable cruelty will go unnoticed.