MIDWAY : Super Sonia

Biswas Baral

If you are thinking this is going to be another panegyric touting the greatness of a lady in white sari whose image percolates through the dream of every starving Indian today, who was supposed to be basking in delights of the rich Italian Riviera, yet is wandering through slums across India, you are right! But for a change, I will leave aside the issue of Sonia Gandhi’s much discussed “sacrifice” and concentrate on her political acumen. For, if her personal sacrifice is huge, her diplomatic shrewdness is no less praiseworthy. Indeed, renouncing premiership of the largest democracy in the world, is no mean an abnegation on Sonia’s part. But a cursory analysis of the events of last few weeks prove that she not only is one magnanimous lady, but a highly insightful politician as well. A mere “kal ki chokri” in NDA terms, she unassumingly paved the way for Congress’ renaissance under the very nose of her opponents.

Her decision to quit from the prime ministerial race may not necessarily have any connection to Sushma Swaraj’s or Uma Bharati’s post-election tirades, though, she seemed a little shaken by the incessant ranting of NDA against her foreign origins before the election. She has killed two birds with a single stone. Not only has she sanctified herself by exercising the great Indian tradition of sacrifice but has also settled the dispute over her origins. She has been called a saint: epitome of human sacrifices barely seen in this materialistic world. Others see her as the very symbol of grit and determination, but just one word comes to my mind: visionary!

Sonia Gandhi is the undoubted leader of Congress, though. It is no secret that she will pull all the strings behind the scene. I have always had great admiration for Churchill as a master politician. The way Sonia is going, she may right up there in my list one day. Our politicians could take a leaf or two out of Sonia’s book. The extent of their blatant hunger for power was evident when the supposed saint of Nepali politics, K P Bhattarai, with his frail health, declared himself “available” for the post of PM if the King was considering the possibility. And it is shameful for senior leaders like G P Koirala to backtrack form their earlier stance at the slightest indication of somebody else getting the coveted post. Politicians need not come out all clean — very few do. But every politician should have a vision—however naïve or unusual — to guide the country forward. It is their job to understand the vision of the people they represent.