Sonia returns; Revives confidence of Congmen with a cause

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New Delhi: After a long while, it is Sonia Gandhi all over again, in the eye of New Delhi politics. The renewed interest in her is an index of her return to centre stage, with a cause to champion – the farmers’ distress.

The Congress was for months finding itself ridiculed for not being able to grab the leadership of the Opposition space and when the demoralised troops came a cropper in the Delhi Assembly elections, its retreat seemed complete.

However, all that wintry doom and gloom seems to have lifted in the Delhi spring.

First the NDA Government’s prestige law, the Land Bill, presented the Congress with the ideal opportunity to get back to some good old-fashioned “grassroots” politics with much resonance at a time when the farm sector was anyway in the throes of a crisis.

Into this context Sonia Gandhi has walked in, or marched in, with a few high-profile interventions.

After a speech in Parliament came the real telegenic event: a dramatic 14-party march from Parliament to Rashtrapati Bhavan, with her being accorded the leadership position by figures from all Opposition parties.

This was followed by visits to the ground. First stop was arid Rajasthan, where after meeting crisis-stricken villagers in Kota district , she said: “I am pained after looking at the destruction. The Congress will raise the plight of farmers and request the state and central governments to provide relief.”

On Saturday, she touched base in neighbouring Haryana. In Khandwa village of Bhiwani district, where she interacted with farmers, she again made a pointed comment. “Farmers are our annadatas. Today, all of us are sad since our annadatas are aggrieved,” she said.

The party was in the news recently when Rahul decided to go AWOL ahead of the Budget session. What made Rahul leave in a huff was an internal survey where Congress leaders apparently wanted Sonia to continue at the helm.

Although he was supposed to come back in April with an overhaul and all-new team, the second likelihood is what seems to be coming to pass.

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