The Congress basked in the "success" of the international satyagraha conference but dismissed suggestions that it was aimed at projecting party chief Sonia Gandhi as a world leader.
"It was a conference to promote Mahatma Gandhi's philosophy, good governance and for conflict resolution," said Jayanti Natarajan, spokesperson. Sonia was already an international figure, she said in response to queries. As for Archbishop Desmond Tutu's observations that Sonia had declined to become prime minister to forestall any reaction, Natarajan maintained that it was well known that she had refused to take up the post "to avoid dissension in society…It was an act of statesmanship."
She defended the AICC's decision not to invite the BJP and other opposition parties to the conference. "It was a conference organised by the Congress party," she said, adding that only UPA allies and people who believed and followed the Gandhian philosophy were called.