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The waves

As the Wind Blows

Location: Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

19 May 2004

So this is how history is made!!

Watching the scene of Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi coming out of Rashtrapathi Bhavan after giving letters of support to the President I was feeling overwhelmed. I was watching the TV alone. Yet, when I saw read out the letter from the President inviting him as the leader of CPP, to form the government, I spontaneously felt an impulse to give a standing ovation. Not just to any individuals. But to the spirit of democracy, to the wonderful situation it has brought us today – a scene never visualized by anyone even a month ago.

The atmosphere in the forecourt of Rashtrapathi Bhavan was bon homie and there was so much lightness in the air. Even Sonia Gandhi, who is usually very stiff and formal, was seen actually laughing throwing her head back and looking so much relaxed!! After a bit of “Pehele aap, nai, nai, Pehele aap” (“ you – speak first – No- no- you speak – first) kind of exchanges between Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, Manmohan began to address the press. And my god he was transformed! The confidence with which he handled the press gave a glimpse of the Leader he is going to be. As Sonia Gandhi put it in her address, “ The country is now safe in the hands of Dr. Manmohan Singh.”

I am happy to be living at this historic moment. I am sure Sonia would go down in the history for proving to the world that one could actually turn down such an offer on a platter and that one could serve the country without really hankering after power. The headlines in ET were apt. “ Sonia does a Gandhi!!

True. Very True.

Now let’s get down to bras stacks. Will there be back seat driving government now? What would be the kind of governance with two power centers? Some of the key concerns. But in my opinion I feel, there will be a kind of clear harmony – Sonia looking after the managing the people part – the coalition members and her own party people and Manmohan Singh looking after the affairs of the governance.

And in any case, even if she were the Prime Minister, she would have definitely been in consultation with persons like Manmohan Singh on day-to-day affairs of running the government. As Arundhathi Roy puts it, in spite of learning so much and doing so much, she always seems unsure of herself. It doesn’t mean she lacks self-confidence as a leader, but in matters of state, she falls back on experts and does enormous home work to be in the know of things; to steer the course in correct direction.

So I don’t think one needs to worry about remote controlling. I am sure Sonia Gandhi respects the democratic norms and so she would be on an adversarial role and not as a master, holdings the strings.


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