Nation

Sonia’s sacrifice is very Christian–like, says Christian Leaders

By: Jacob Chaterjee
Friday, 21 May 2004, 1:05 (IST)
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New Delhi – Christian leaders all over India are all praise for the great heroism and sacrifice shown in Sonia Gandhi’s surprise decision to refuse the Prime Minister position, declaring her move not to accept the glory as a “very Christian–like” decision, as the trappings of power did not attract her. “Instead, her spirit of service was displayed with clarity through her renunciation,” said one leader, requesting to remain anonymous. “Given the diversity of Indian ethos, her decision to step aside from the limelight is a wise one,” he said.

Though her decision has stumped her political opponents who were baying for her blood if she accepted the post of a Prime Minister, yet, many political analysts think that as President of the Congress Party, Sonia Gandhi will yield much more power, being respected even by her most vehement political opponents.

Father Anthony Charangat, Editor of the Mumbai Archdiocesan Newsweekly ‘The Examiner’, lauded Sonia’s disinterest in power and prestige, which caused her as the Italian–born leader of the victorious Congress Party to refuse the Prime Minister position. A keen political analyst, the editor priest has closely observed Sonia’s political career, as she almost single–handedly led the Congress party’s campaign, addressing 54 rallies and holding road–shows across the country addressing issues of fundamentalism, drought and unemployment. “She shrewdly forged pre–poll alliances, evidence of her astute leadership. Even her allies acknowledged her greatness and the magnitude of her service,” Fr. Charangat commented. “Yet Sonia is fully aware that extremism and intolerance in the country could result in violence and death. She did not wish to repeat history and wanted to avoid another tragedy in the family,” he said.

It may be noted that Mrs Gandhi’s decision did come as a surprise not only for her political opponents but also for her supporters. A Roman–Catholic, she caused disappointment when she announced that her "inner voice" had dissuaded her from standing for Prime Minister of the world's largest democracy and pleaded everyone to respect “the strength of (her) conviction”. In fact, her supporters have reacted more dramatically to her decision to refuse as Prime Minister, which was made and a decision that she “will not revert” from, than her political opponents. Protesting this move, huge number of followers gathered outside her residence, chanting and holding signs. While one slashed his chest with a sword and cursed the outgoing BJP government who has always been raising Sonia’s ‘foreign issue’, another Congress party worker wrote a request that she reconsider, using his own blood for ink. Yet, another waved a gun, threatening to kill himself because of Gandhi’s decision. He was, however, removed from the spot by the police.



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