The Congress might have assiduously built for Sonia Gandhi the image of a reclusive leader aloof from the mundane affairs of the government, but the Congress president’s wonderful isolation no more insulates her from the failings of the government headed by Manmohan Singh. The party’s effort to keep the prime minister and Sonia separate by judging them on separate yardsticks is apparently falling through.
In uncomplicated words, people have seen through the arrangement where the prime minister takes all the blame for the failures of the government and party president gets away with all the credit for the good work it does.
This, despite the latter holding and exercising enormous powers in the government. According to a Headlines Today study conducted by CVoters, the ratings of both move together. If Manmohan Singh is sinking in public perception, Sonia is doing no better.
The study is based on national representative sample of 13,302 randoml selected respondents during March-May 2013 and cumulative tracking of poll data of 250000+ respondents during the last 48 months across 540 Lok Sabha segments the country.
To a question whether they supported the dyarchy, where the prime minister runs government and Sonia Gandhi the party, as many as 49 percent of the respondents said an emphatic no. Interestingly, despite the Congress’s best efforts to keep the party president on a separate pedestal from Manmohan, in public perception makes no such distinction.
In 2009, Sonia was perceived better than the latter; however, through the four years till 2013 she has shrunk in public estimation, the study says.
In 2013, Manmohan Singh, despite being the target of public flak from all directions for corruption, poor governance and mismanaging the economy, is marginally better off in public perception than Sonia. The dip in the latter’s case has been perceptible since 2011. This can only be bad news for Congressmen.
They can no longer make any grandstanding over Sonia’s image. People seem more inclined to believe that none of the damage to the country in the form of corruption and otherwise could have been done without the knowledge and tacit approval of the high command.
The Gandhi brand name, as the survey reveals, is sullied. The party may find it difficult to cash in on it, particularly among urban voters.