‘Cong may be headed by someone outside family’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 10 Mar 2018 08:12:20



UPA CHAIRPERSON Sonia Gandhi on Friday said there may be a Congress President from outside the Nehru-Gandhi family in future, adding that she opted for Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister in 2004 as he was a better candidate for the post than her.

“Why not? In future there may well be,” Gandhi shot back when asked at the ‘India Today’ conclave here if there was a chance of a leader from outside the family heading the Congress. On if the Congress will survive without a Gandhi as its leader, she said the question should be put to Congress workers. Gandhi said there has been a tradition in the Congress and the leaders are elected democratically. She also referred to dynasties in the US such as that of the Bush family and the Clintons and also to dynasties in several States of India.

Sonia also tore into the Modi government alleging that the country is being led by ‘regressive vision’ and asked if India was really a ‘giant black hole’ before May 2014 and marched to progress only after BJP came to power at the Centre. Gandhi, 71, also alleged that the country, the society, its freedom are now all under systematic and sustained threat and that there is “rewriting of history, falsifying facts and fanning prejudice and bigotry”.

Gandhi was addressing the India Today Conclave here. In deeply introspective comments both during her speech and a question-and-answer session, the UPA chairperson spoke on a wide range of topics, including her children, her own shortcomings and the role of democracy in India, the first time she has opened up since relinquishing the party president post.

Gandhi’s no-holds-barred attack came a day after her son and Congress President Rahul Gandhi hit out at the BJP alleging there is a general atmosphere of ‘intimidation’ in India where ‘nasty form of politics’ of dividing people are being played to win elections.

During the interactive session, Sonia Gandhi alleged that the Modi government's ‘lack of accommodative spirit’ has led to the present politics of acrimony in Parliament which has been rocked by disruptions during this entire week.
Gandhi also said she chose Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister in 2004 as she was aware of her limitations and knew that he was a better candidate. “I knew my limitations. I knew Manmohan Singh would be a better prime minister than me.” She alleged that there is shocking insensitivity to atrocities on Dalits and women and that the society is being polarised in a bid to win elections.

“Our country, our society, our freedom are now all under systematic and sustained threat. There is rewriting of history, falsifying facts and fanning prejudice and bigotry,” she said. “Today we are presented with an alternative and indeed regressive vision,” Gandhi said. “Was India really a giant black hole before May 2014 and start marching to progress only four years ago. Is this not an insult to the intelligence of our people? It is not a matter of taking credit but acknowledging India’s strength,” said the Lok Sabha member from Rae Bareli.

She also said callous remarks about changing the Constitution were deliberate attempts to subvert the essence of India it enshrines. “Provocative statements from the ruling establishments are not random or accidental but a part of a dangerous design. Alternate voices are being silenced. Freedom to think, marry according to ones wishes is under attack. Religious tensions are being fuelled, vigilante mobs and private armies have been let loose,” she charged. “Long standing principles that have stood the country well are being violated. Parliamentary majority is being interpreted as a licence to stifle debate and bulldoze legislations. Political opponents are being targeted through misuse of investigative agencies,” she said.