Friday, December 17, 2010

WikiLeaks: Sonia "felt better" that someone else became PM in 2004

LONDON: After stepping aside in favour of Manmohan Singh to head the new UPA government in 2004, Congress President Sonia Gandhi "felt better" that someone else became prime minister and did not regret her decision.

According to a secret US cable released by WikiLeaks , Gandhi has also promised to write a book detailing the tense moments on the issue of who will become prime minister after the Congress-led UPA emerged victorious in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections.

Stating that she is often asked why she turned down the top job, Italian-born Gandhi told a visiting US dignitary in New Delhi in 2006 that "I am often asked about this, but tell people that I will write a book someday with the whole story."

The 2006 cable details Gandhi's meeting with Maria Shriver, the First Lady of California and wife of Governor Arnold Shwarznegger. It is is titled 'A Garrulous Sonia Gandhi Opens Up to Maria Shriver'.

Reporting the meeting, the cable says about Gandhi: "She would only say that she 'felt better' that someone else became PM and 'did not regret' her decision."

"Shriver congratulated Mrs Gandhi for her resoluteness and described her as 'courageous.'"

The cable adds: "She (Gandhi) elaborated, at Karan Singh's insistence, saying that she was under lots of pressure, as the 'party workers' were 'very upset.' They 'could not understand' why she, as party President, was not taking up the post, since they had voted for her and won a majority."

Describing what appeared to be a very cordial meeting, the cable says Gandhi opened up and "revealed a rare glimpse of herself.

"Usually withdrawn and reserved in public, she spoke at great length and radiated confidence on women's issues and some aspects of her private life".

It was the rise of the BJP and right-wing politics that "compelled" her to enter politics, despite much reluctance, according to the cable.

The cable says: "In a candid revelation of her personal political stance, Mrs Gandhi stated that 'the right (wing) was becoming strong in India and Congress weak,' tipping her hand and 'compelling' her to enter politics to protect the Gandhi family legacy.

"She also revealed that her children were 'not keen' about the idea, but eventually told her, 'whatever you decide, we will back you.'"

Gandhi, the cable says, revealed that her parents objected to her marriage to Rajiv Gandhi and she "resented their position" and went ahead and married him anyway.

by Economic Times

No comments:

Post a Comment