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Paradise regained for Sonia Gandhi

PTI | BySudha Passi (Press Trust of India), New Delhi
May 13, 2004 06:55 PM IST

Sonia Gandhi led the Congress in a relentless poilitical campaign and has emerged with flying colours in the LS polls defying critics and exit polls.

Fighting a virtually single- handed battle to end the eight-year power drought of her party, Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born Congress President, has emerged with flying colours in an election that was literally seen as a referendum on her foreign origin.

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Leading the Congress in a relentless political campaign that saw virulent personal attacks on her ranging from her antecedents to her heavily accented speeches, Gandhi braved it all as she moved around the country to strike a cord with the aam aadmi (common man) who threw in his lot behind her.

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In a telling rebuttal of a vilified campaign, the "reader-leader" finally silenced her sceptics by sewing a formidable alliance with regional parties to restore Congress as the single-largest party in the 543-strong house from its lower ever tally of 114 and dislodge the BJP-led NDA.

From a shy-Indian bahu who vehemently guarded her privacy after her wedding into India's most popular family in 1968, to the sari-clad lady with brisk walk reminiscent of her mother-in-law Indira Gandhi, Sonia has showed that it's the bread and butter issues that utimately gel with the voter.

"The farmers are the backbone of the economy and they must be the overriding concern of any government," she said elaborating on her vision as she attacked the NDA on issues of employment, corruption and secularism.

It has not been a cakewalk for the 58-year old Congress President who "detested" politics and is stated to have said that she'd rather had her children beg than let her husband join poltics.

Unveiling 'Elections 2024: The Big Picture', a fresh segment in HT's talk show 'The Interview with Kumkum Chadha', where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch Now!
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