More on the “Sonia as India’s PM” debate…

As Sonia Gandhi prepares to take over the reins of India, MSN India brings to light that a “Lucknow-based advocate Monday moved the Supreme Court to restrain Congress party president Sonia Gandhi from becoming the prime minister because of her foreign origin. Article >>

Meanwhile, “Even as Sonia Gandhi is sworn in prime minister on May 19, Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy will attempt to convince the Delhi high court that Gandhi and her sister have smuggled Indian artifacts out of the country.” Article >> also presents a special where Contributing Editor Sheela Bhatt listens to arguments for and against Sonia Gandhi becoming India’s first foreign-born prime minister. The Case For Sonia Gandhi presents some of the arguments heard in New Delhi over the last three days in her favour, while in the Case Against Sonia Gandhi, a (retired) senior bureaucrat, who served Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, argues passionately against Sonia Gandhi’s candidature for the prime minister’s post.

In another article, From waitress to world leader, reproduces an article that appeared in The Times, London, which talks of “Sonia Gandhi, the daughter of an Italian housebuilder”, who is “likely to become’s India’s new Prime Minister this week – the culmination of a political career that had its beginnings in a Greek restaurant in Cambridge.”

In tracing her background, the article says: “Mrs Gandhi was an 18-year-old student at a small language college in Cambridge in 1965, making ends meet by working as a waitress in the Varsity restaurant, when she met a handsome young engineering student.”

Throwing light on a how she fell in love with Rajiv, and also on a couple of controversies including the Cambridge degree that never was, the article ends with the words:
“Coaxed out of her reclusive lifestyle to save the Congress movement, Mrs Gandhi, 57, now finds herself on the brink of power. She will become the fourth Gandhi to hold power in India and the first European to rule since Lord Mountbatten of Burma. It has been a long journey from the days when she was a carefree teenager who once shocked India by wearing a miniskirt. Today, she regards herself as ‘completely Indian’.” Article >>

And then there is the article by Lalit Koul (the publisher and editor of the Kashmir Herald, an Internet-based web Journal and member of Kashmir News Network) who writes at lamenting Indians have lost our nationalistic pride.

I agree TOTALLY with Lalit Koul when he says:

“The current process of letting MPs nominate the prime minister is fundamentally flawed. How else can one explain the appointment of Haradinahalli Dodde Gowda Deve Gowda as India’s prime minister? Deve Gowda belonged to a party that had less than 20 elected representatives in the Lok Sabha. He ended up becoming the prime minister and a joke.

The current process gives too much control to a few when it comes to choosing the country’s prime minister. This post is too critical to be in the hands of a few politicians who control their respective parties.

Besides, the prime minister should be someone of national standing rather than a local one. It is very difficult for a person of national stature to emerge as prime minister in the current atmosphere where national politics is controlled by regional parties.

The people of India should directly elect their prime minister. This will force regional satraps out of the contention and make sure only candidates with the necessary national stature and experience emerge as contenders. It will make sure leaders like Laloo Prasad Yadav, Deve Gowda and Mulayam Singh Yadav don’t get to be prime minister unless they have first proved themselves at the national level. This will be an excellent way of stemming the rot that is afflicting India’s national politics. It will also maintain the sanctity of the Prime Minister’s Office.”

All I wish to say is: Indian Democracy is dead. Long Live Indian Democracy!


PS: I wrote an article for the 2000 general elections, which sadly seems to hold true even today. For those interested, please read: Yeh Dil Maange More!