In her nearly 13 years as the all-powerful chief of the Congress party which heads India’s ruling coalition, Sonia Gandhi has, of late, rarely faced criticism of her leadership.
If anything, she has appeared to tighten her grip on the party since her early days as its leader when her authority was challenged by a trio of senior Congress leaders, who were subsequently expelled.
So when G. Venkataswamy, veteran Congress leader from southern Andhra Pradesh state, questioned Sonia’s ability to lead on Tuesday, going so far as to even suggest that she step down, it received wide publicity in the Indian press.
Venkataswamy, a member of the Congress Working Committee, the party’s highest policy making body and a seven-time MP, said he doubted Sonia could help the party win in the 2014 general election.
The apparent reason for Venkataswamy’s diatribe against Sonia is the party’s move to align with another regional party opposing a demand to divide Andhra Pradesh. Venkataswamy backs the bifurcation of the state which is home to such global corporations as Microsoft and Google. He also blamed Sonia for failing to curb growing corruption in the government.