Sonia opens up about politics, leadership at India Today Conclave
Mumbai: In a deeply introspective speech, Congress leader Sonia Gandhi Friday spoke on a wide range of topics, including her children, her own shortcomings and the role of democracy in India, the first time she has opened up since relinquishing the party president post.
Addressing the India Today Conclave in Mumbai, Gandhi said democracy allows dissent and debate and not monologues in an apparent barb at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
She also lamented that nation builders are being slandered, and that there was cynical running down of past achievements referring to the constant criticism by the ruling party of the post Independence achievements of the Congress and its prime ministers.
However, Gandhi noted that the Congress also needs to develop a new style of connecting with people at the organisational level.
Speaking about her own role in leadership after Congress came to power in 2004, she said that she knew Manmohan Singh would be better a prime minister than her, and that she was aware of her limitations.
“Public speaking does not come naturally to me, that is why I was called a reader than a leader,” the Congress leader said.
Gandhi, 71, who was Congress president for 19 years, was replaced by her son Rahul last year after internal party elections.
On being asked during the conclave’s ‘Q&A’ session if she advises her son on party matters, Gandhi said, “I try not to volunteer. Rahul wants a balance of younger people and senior leaders to revitalise the party and this is not an easy task.”
Reacting on criticism of Rahul not being in the country during counting of votes in northeastern states, she said the Congress president went to see his grandmother in Italy for three days after he had done his rounds of electioneering.
Taking a question on the political role of her daughter Priyanka, Gandhi said, “Priyanka is pre-occupied with her children at the moment. It is up to her and one never knows the future.” PTI