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.