Sonia Gandhi at Bangalore rallyMurmurs of discontent have risen in some ranks of the ruling Congress about the influence of the Gandhi dynasty in the party.

Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh criticised last week how decision-making within Congress was made in a “narrow context” — meaning the Gandhis. He quickly backtracked by swearing loyalty to the family, but only after being publicly snubbed by Sonia Gandhi.

This came amid a controversy over Rahul Gandhi’s very public trips around India — leading to him being called “Crown Prince”. Some said he was overshadowing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Clearly there is controversy over what should be the role of these two Gandhi’s – the heirs to the Gandhi-Nehru dynasty that has run India on and off since Independence – in an election year.

Around the same time I had been in Karnataka, spending a hot afternoon at a rally by Sonia while covering this key state election. Sonia spoke in Hindi to thousands of people who only understood Kannada, one of the languages of Karnataka. As a journalist, I found it difficult to find one exciting quote I could use for my story — something unusual for most politicians who understand like no one the value of the sound bite.