Oh how do you cover the Sphinx when she says absolutely nothing?
Covering the Sphinx aka Sonia Gandhi is probably the most challenging job a reporter can have. One has to make up entire stories about her not being at a luncheon. But the Telegraph rises to the challenge and shows us how you tell the inquiring public what is on Madam’s mind. You find a “ senior leader”, “a young MP” and some other assorted age-non-specific “leaders” and then get them to say next to nothing.
The burning question, of course, is what is Sonia Gandhi thinking now that Rahul beta has come a cropper in Uttar Pradesh?
Well, according to the “senior leader” she is “pained.” She is also “unhappy”. And “extremely upset.” In fact, she has reached the point of being in a “fiery mood.”
Fiery! Sonia! What kind of fireworks should we be expecting?
Ummm, nothing. She is in a “fiery mood” but not “clear about the future course of action.”
What’s the problem?
“Entrenched forces,” the senior leader confided to the newspaper. That’s funny. One would have thought that the Gandhis were the “entrenched force” when it came to the future of the Congress.
To be fair, the choices before Sonia are quite bleak.
Rahul’s magic has flopped in Uttar Pradesh. Therefore the stakes get even higher for the next round of elections which include Gujarat. So Congress’ bruised Harry Potter will have to face his Voldemort without any magic wand. He’s being informally put in charge of Andhra Pradesh now which means he will have the Telengana hot potato in his lap.
The Congress’ old guard has been shunted off to various Raj Bhavans, points out India Today and the second rung is weak. It has no one to challenge Naveen Patnaik in Odisha or Nitish Kumar in Bihar. Where it has leaders, as in Madhya Pradesh, they are too busy fighting each other to capitalise on any anti-BJP incumbency feeling. Or there’s Rajasthan where 22 disgruntled legislators held a secret dinner meeting to mount an internal rebellion against the CM Ashok Gehlot — just what the beleaguered old party needs right now.
The UPA cabinet is suffering from what the “young MP” called a “public relations deficiency syndrome”. The “leaders” complained about the ministers’ “inaccessibility” and “arrogance.” So what’s the solution? The “leaders” demanded a complete overhaul of the cabinet. Except the problem is it’s a coalition cabinet and as mentioned Sonia is facing a shrinking talent pool. The Pradesh committee chief spots are vacant in several states including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
All this should be enough to worry any party boss. And Sonia is apparently angry enough now that she could “brush aside the advice of those who keep warning her against ‘adventurism’.” Since much of Congress’ wounds are self-inflicted, it’s unclear what she’s angry about.
But one waits with bated breath to find out what Sonia-led risky “adventurism”would look like. The only thing we know for sure that Sonia Gandhi is planning to do is visit the Siddaganga mutt seer Shivakumar Swamiji on 28 April when he turns 105.
Perhaps the Swamiji will have some advice. Until then for any other “drastic” steps we must stay tuned with our ear close to the ground or at least close to the “senior leader” and the “young party MP.”
Read the entire story about the worries of Sonia Gandhi here.
First Published On : Apr 12, 2012 12:04 IST