National Herald case: The end of Sonia Gandhi?

Source :SIFY
Last Updated: Mon, Jun 30th, 2014, 05:46:34hrs
  • Facebook-icon
  • Twitter-icon
  • Whatsapp-icon
  • Linkedin-icon
National Herald case: The end of Sonia Gandhi?
The most underplayed story of 2014 has to be the National Herald scam where Congress head honchos Sonia and Rahul Gandhi have been implicated. The mainstream media continues to be afraid of Sonia as was shown by the coverage.

First things first: Now it is no longer a case of BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's allegations against the dynasty. It is a serious court case and both Sonia and Rahul are the accused.

The judge in the case observed: From the complaint and evidence led so far it appears YI (or Young Indian) was in fact created as a sham or a cloak to convert public money to personal use or as a special purpose vehicle for acquiring control over Rs 2000 crore worth of assets.

With both Sonia and Rahul being the majority shareholders of Young Indian, they now join the ranks of hundreds of current and former parliamentarians who have various types of cases being filed against them.

It was funny how certain newspapers buried the news in the inside pages and some TV channels gave a pro-Sonia spin by calling it a mere "summons" or dubbing it a "Swamy versus Gandhis" story.

The truth is that this is probably the biggest negative development against Sonia in her political career. It may spell the end of the road for her. With the court taking the case seriously, we can expect a long-drawn battle with the Congress leaving no stone unturned in defending Sonia.

However the writing is on the wall. No matter what the outcome, the case will be taken first to the High Court and finally to the Supreme Court. The whole process may take 5-10 years. And therein is the point that the aura of invincibility may be shattered when it comes to Sonia.

Imagine for a decade Sonia will be like any other mortal. She will regularly have to make court appearances and will not be able to travel abroad frequently without scrutiny as she has been doing so in the past.

If the court asks Sonia and Rahul to surrender their passports as is being demanded by Swamy, then it will be the final ignominy. It may also be recalled that this is not the first case to go against Sonia.

A Sikh group in the US has filed a case against her related to the 1984 riots. She has been asked to appear in a US court and also to show her passport. With the way things are going, she may never want to visit the US ever again.

How the tables have turned! Before May 16, it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who couldn't visit the United States. But now Washington DC will roll out a red carpet welcome for Modi while Sonia may find herself with a self-imposed ban.

Then these are merely the first dominoes. This will embolden all her opponents to file all manner of cases against her. She is no longer the Sphinx who couldn't be touched, who couldn't be spoken to and who couldn't be made "unhappy".

Sonia was in a position of weakness with a mere 44 MPs in the Lok Sabha even before the National Herald case. Her biggest problem is: Her son Rahul happens to be a co-accused in the case and if Sonia goes down, then Rahul may well go with her.

It is a well-known fact that senior Congress leaders are always uncomfortable with the dynasty but happen to go along with them because they are vote-catchers and somehow manage to be the glue that holds the Congress together.

But every dynast has seen dissent. Jawaharlal Nehru's deputy was Sardar Vallabhai Patel who died in 1950. When it comes to the others, a good six out of ten ministers from the inaugural Cabinet revolted against Nehru and left.

India's only Indian Governor General C Rajagopalachari also quit the Congress and launched his own party.

The list of the tales of the multitude Congress leaders who rebelled against Indira Gandhi would fill a book.

Pranab Mukherjee rebelled against Rajiv Gandhi without much success while VP Singh managed to topple the Congress in 1989.

Sonia took over the Congress in 1998 and escaped such form of dissent so far. But things are rapidly changing. A record low Lok Sabha seats and scandals reduces Sonia to the level of any other politician.

She is no longer a vote catcher and Rahul has already failed in the eyes of many.

After the defeat some junior Congress leaders questioned the dynasty.

They were silenced.

But now the senior leaders have started.

First there was AK Antony's doubt on Congress secularism. Then Digvijay Singh questioned Rahul's leadership credentials.

For Sonia this is just the beginning...of the end.

More from the author:

Will we have a Gulf War III?

Everybody loves black money in India!

Can India become a US$10 trillion economy?

2014: Fall of a dynasty and other lessons

The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here.
  • Facebook-icon
  • Twitter-icon
  • Whatsapp-icon
  • Linkedin-icon