Sonia Gandhi has just completed 15 years as the Congress party president on March 14, 2013. How has she performed as the leader of the grand old party? Veteran Journalist Neerja Chowdhury, who has covered Congress for long joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the issue.
Q. One tends to think her performance has been by far good. The image has been tainted, withe the scams that have come out. However, if she wins this election and comes back to power even with outside support, which is a small chance, considering the issues of the opposition, there should be no looking back for her, What is your take madam? Asked by: Narayan
15 years as Congress president: how has Sonia Gandhi fared?
A. It is going to be tough going for the Congress in 2014, given the scams and rising prices which have dented the Congress' credibility. And she is showing every sign of making way for her son Rahul Gandhi, appointed the Vice President of the Congress at Jaipur in January, to steer the party.
Q. We do not have information on how the CWC, functions....the intricacies, but indeed a brave lady, whose only intention seems to be strengthening congress. But, in reality, she has not been allowed to connect with the masses or rather the other way round. It is very difficult to tell what her real contribution is.....no bills to her success.....women's reservation bill is yet to see the light of day. Asked by: S ESHWAR
A. If the Women's Reservatioon Bill was passed in the Rajya sabha three years ago, it was because of her determined efforts. She now needs to give another heave ho to get it passed in the Lok sabha and if necessary go to the polls on the issue.
Q. Do you think only Sonia or Rahul want to lead the congress party? Are we in dynasty rule? If any person talks against her, he or she will expelled from party. All the scams coming out now, they are from UPA 1. She should give a chance to other people for congress president post. Asked by: Lakshmikanth Gelli
A. The trouble is that Congressmen are not ready to accept each other in the leadership role, only a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family.
Q. Is she making a political mistake by handing the reins to Rahul? Asked by: Dhrubo
A. That only time will tell. Rahul seems well meaning and sincere and wants to bring changes in the political set up, but in politics, you dont have all the time in the world to do what you want. Time is ticking away.
Q. Performance of upa-1 was quite ok.. the declining popularity of upa-2 can be attributable to world wide recession and due to allies which have tainted the image. Asked by: Sathyaki
A. I think that is an oversimplification.It is the plethora of scams which have taken their toll of the Congress' image, the Congress for very long was on the defensive, unable to get a grip over the situation, And also unable to control prices which affected a large mass of people.
Q. Why is there too much difference in words and action of Sonia as NREGA and food bills have done more harm for the common man and economy rather than improving their conditions? Asked by: Shailesh
A. That is not true, MNREGA and Food Security Bills provide some succour to the very poor and they are a very large number in our country.One of Sonia Gandhi's contributions has been her rights based politics that she has insisted on, so that the Congress does not forget the poor or the aam admi in its clamour for "growth", the benefits of which have not trickled down. She has had a major role in the enactment of Right to Employment(MNREGA), Right to Information, Right to Education and Now Right to food.
Q. The motive of Sonia's entry into politics was to revive Congress and which she was able to do by bringing UPA into power but National growth was never her objective. Asked by: Manav
A. If the Congress becomes a untied and an effective instrument, all else will follow.
Q. Why was there so much insecurity in her regarding passing of important bills like Lokpal as that meant she was pro corruption and just like any leader to stay in power? Asked by: Manush
A. I believe she should have given a greater push to pass the Lok Pal Bill.
Q. Why is media.. so obsessed with celebrating Sonia Gandhi.. Although, we cannot quantify personal sacrifices... I think she got more than any human race could have ever given back.. We can see that.. media people like you are loosing objectivity.. in process of this mindless worship of individuals. Asked by: CSG
A. I think it is the media's job to assess every political figure, particularly those who are powerful. That is why Narendra Modi is getting so much attention these days, because he may in the future be a major player.
Q. Is there a risk of the congress becoming irrelevant because Sonia Gandhi's continuation as president prevents changes to recognise change in the times? Does the appointment of Rahul actually create a bigger leadership vaccumm? Asked by: Samir
A. Rahul's statement that he is not interested in Prime Ministership does give the impression of a vaccum of leadership in the Congress at the top.Who will lead the party in 2014? If not one person, then a conglomerate will take on someone like Modi.
Q. I think Gandhi family is essential for congress. it is stating united because of that family. if she would not have entered politics the party would have been disintegrated long back. Asked by: Sathyaki
A. Yes, her coming into active politics stemmed the erosion that was taking place in the Congress in 1997-98. Just as the Sangh parivar keeps the BJP together, the Gandhi family keeps the congress united. These are hard political realities.
Q. She has done well for the Congress party and for her own family... Not so much for India! Asked by: Kart
A. History will be a judge of that.