Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday dismissed perceptions of the lack of a leader in her party to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying even Indira Gandhi was “ridiculed and insulted” when she took over as party chief.
“Every era in politics or history has its own problems, its own leaders and its own opposition. I think the Congress party is taking on the present dispensation,” Sonia Gandhi said in an interview to TV channel India Today.
Asked whether she was troubled by the fact that Modi was being compared with the late Prime Minister as a strong personality, Gandhi said, “It does not trouble me because I do not believe in it. I have my own clear views about it. There is no comparison. Absolutely not.”
To another question that her party did not have a tough and competitive leader like Modi, she said, “I do not agree with that.”
Sonia skirted a question on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s elevation, saying, “I am not the person to reply on it.”
Sonia also asserted that Congress’ revival was possible. “We will come up from 44 seats... to get full majority in Parliament… In politics, you lose, and you win.”
Talking at length about her mother-in-law, she said Indira never saw herself as Durga after Bangladesh’s creation in 1971. “She felt proud for the people of East Bengal. We used to hear horrific stories about people there and she felt terrible about it. She would discuss with us…. She never saw herself as Ma Durga.”
About Emergency, Sonia said if Indira had not felt “extremely uncomfortable”, she would not have called elections. “There were instances when Rajivji (Sonia’s husband and former PM Rajiv Gandhi) would meet people who would say this is happening, and he would tell his mother. I could see that she heard him and would see her respond.”
On her joining politics, Sonia said she felt it was “cowardly” of her not to do so. “At that time, there was nothing else on mind but to uphold the ideals of my mother-in-law, husband and the party.”
On dynastic politics, Sonia said, “Just like in a family of doctors, professors, businessmen, one or another will choose the path of the father. There is a difference in politics, as you are elected and defeated democratically”.
She said she would explain everything in her book, “As and if I write at all.”
(With inputs from PTI)