HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

‘Sonia more powerful than Nehru, Indira’

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 31, 2014
First Published: 01:13 IST(31/7/2014) | Last Updated: 01:20 IST(31/7/2014)

Natwar Singh, UPA’s first foreign minister, may have caused a fresh round of embarrassment for the Congress in his tell-all interview, but he also hailed party chief Sonia Gandhi as the “most powerful” head of the 129-year-old party in the process.

In an exclusive interview to Headlines Today’s ‘To The Point show...”, Singh, who was unceremoniously forced to resign from the cabinet in 2005, pointed out that Sonia had been ruling the Congress for 15 years at a stretch whereas Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi enjoyed stints of leadership.

Singh also revealed that Sonia was “not autocratic” but a unique power centre. “She doesn’t throw her weight around. She is never rude,” said Singh who had often been critical of the Congress brass after he walked out of the party.

Comparing her authority with Nehru and Gandhi, Singh also pointed out that unlike them Sonia had unchallenged command over the party.

“Nehru had to deal with leaders like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who differed with him on many issues while had to fight the Syndicate leaders. But Sonia has total control and there is no challenge,” Singh added.

The former minister, who was considered an insider of the Nehru-Gandhi family, also defended Sonia’s reported trait of maintaining silence and not sharing her thoughts on issues with her colleagues.

Singh also said, “That is how all leaders should be. There are many things which can’t be shared with others. She keeps everyone at arm’s length.”

Singh, who hailed Sonia as a better politician than her husband Rajiv Gandhi, also said that she was charming and graceful when discussions would veer around non-political issues. “But while discussing politics, she would often remain silent,” he said.

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