I was reading this news article today (click to read, source Reuters, India) and like always wondered how does Sonia work her magic. Is it her own personality that wounds her magic, or is it the “Gandhi” in her name, or is it the Rajiv factor? Even if we think that people cannot be as naïve as to think that she is a descendent of the great Gandhi family, Gandhi as in MK Gandhi, such large gatherings are only a matter of insane adulation (or) gimmick politics. Most of you reading this post know who Sonia Gandhi is? But how is she such a charismatic figure? That is something we shall try to discover here.
Between April 16 and May 13
Our Present political Situation…
The last decade in
Second, the caste hierarchy that marked Hindu social order for centuries is beginning to crumble. Political mobilization of the so-called lower castes is undermining, perhaps decisively, the caste hierarchy, though not eliminating caste consciousness. A vast majority of
Third, Since 1999
Few societies rebuild their founding pillars without serious political turbulence. In extreme cases not only the political system but the nation breaks down.
In short, compared to its past, India today is less secular, less Moscow-friendly, less dominated by the upper castes, more democratic, and more market-oriented. All of these trends are likely to deepen in the coming years, with one exception. Secularism is unlikely to have a continuing fall. Even a BJP in power will not find it easy to undermine secularism, for it is a constitutional matter and a simple legislative majority is not enough to change the constitution. More importantly, the BJP is unlikely to come to power, now or later, if it appears too threatening to the minorities and does not discipline the visceral anti-Muslim instincts of many of its cadres.
The Congress is basically a victim of its own success. It kept winning for so long that it began to attract those interested only in power and the benefits of office, legitimate or illegitimate. Ideological rectitude has been a rarity in Congress politics for the last two decades, and the party's organization has been in a state of disarray for some time. Can the Congress win back the minorities, especially the Muslims, who constitute 12 percent of
These imperatives have been clear for some time, but the Congress has lacked the leadership to tackle the ideological and organizational revitalization of the party. The Congress was demoralized and desperate. It was looking for alliances to save itself in many parts of
Sonia Gandhi's entry into campaign politics has been serendipitous for Congress Party members, who were looking for a charismatic savior. Over the last seven decades, the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has been a virtually inexhaustible source of charisma in
Yet Sonia Gandhi's charisma was not a foregone conclusion. Her marriage into the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty was a plus, but other tests remained. Could she make public speeches and establish a rapport with audiences? How would she deal with the fact that she was Italian by birth and Indian only by citizenship?
Her campaign had also disarmed BJP politicians. More than any other party, the BJP stands for
When Sonia Gandhi announced that she would campaign for the Congress Party, the BJP had thought of undermining her by invoking the xenophobic notion of a "Rome Raj." By presenting herself as a woman more traditional than many Indian women, Sonia Gandhi has turned the tables on the BJP.
Why has Sonia Gandhi received such a popular reception? Is it that minorities are beginning to return to the Congress, or is her image as a great mother, a devoted wife, a good daughter-in-law, and a dignified widow so credible and effective as to pull large support? As more disaggregated polls come out, we will know more about the reasons for her popularity. As of this writing, the hypothesis that both of these factors are playing an important role cannot be ruled out.
Will her charisma last, or does her popularity signal only intense mass curiosity about a mysterious public figure? If it is lasting charisma, will she be able to institutionalize it into a restructured, revived party organization? In the Nehru-Gandhi family there are two political styles.
Probably the movie on Sonia played by Katrina Kaif would give us some answers...Some more insight please…