Sonia took Congress charge to fight resurgent BJP: WikiLeaks

It was the rise of the BJP and right-wing politics that "compelled" Sonia Gandhi to enter politics, the WikiLeaks revealed on Friday.

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2010, 17:17 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

London: It was the rise of the BJP and right-wing politics that
"compelled" Sonia Gandhi to enter politics, despite much reluctance, the WikiLeaks revealed on Friday.

The US cable of 2006 says: "In a candid revelation of her
personal political stance, Mrs Gandhi stated that `the right
(wing) was becoming strong in India and Congress weak,`
tipping her hand and `compelling` her to enter politics to
protect the Gandhi family legacy.

"She also revealed that her children were `not keen`
about the idea, but eventually told her, `whatever you decide,
we will back you.”

The 2006 cable details Gandhi`s meeting with Maria
Shriver, the First Lady of California and wife of Governor
Arnold Shwarznegger. It is titled `A Garrulous Sonia Gandhi
Opens Up to Maria Shriver`.

This is the second WikiLeaks revelation to have hit the Congress party on a single day. Earlier in the day, a US cable quotes US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer reporting that Rahul had said Hinidu extremism was more dangerous than Lashkar-e-Toiba.

`Book on rejecting PMship’

Stating that she is often asked why she turned down
the top job, Gandhi told a visiting US dignitary in New Delhi
in 2006 that "I am often asked about this, but tell people
that I will write a book someday with the whole story,"
according to a secret US cable released by WikiLeaks.

Reporting the meeting, the cable says about Gandhi:
"She would only say that she `felt better` that someone else
became PM and `did not regret` her decision."

"Shriver congratulated Mrs Gandhi for her resoluteness
and described her as `courageous.`"

The cable adds: "She (Gandhi) elaborated, at Karan
Singh`s insistence, saying that she was under lots of
pressure, as the `party workers` were `very upset.` They
`could not understand` why she, as party President, was not
taking up the post, since they had voted for her and won a
majority."

Describing what appeared to be a very cordial
meeting, the cable says Gandhi opened up and "revealed a rare
glimpse of herself.

"Usually withdrawn and reserved in public, she spoke
at great length and radiated confidence on women`s issues and
some aspects of her private life".

’Parents no to marrying Rajiv’

Gandhi, the cable says, revealed that her parents
objected to her marriage to Rajiv Gandhi and she "resented
their position" and went ahead and married him anyway.

She also noted that she felt that her gender has
never been an issue in her political life and that Indira
Gandhi also made the same observation.

As the discussion moved on to population control,
the cable says: "Mrs Gandhi pointed out that `population
control` is a political taboo in India after Indira Gandhi was
voted out of office over this issue.

"Although she insisted allegations of forced vasectomies
and other abuses were `highly exaggerated` and `politically
motivated,` the historical memory has forced the UPA to focus
on raising awareness and providing basic health services and
means that progress on reducing the birth rate will be
`slow.`"

Gandhi, the cable says, then provided personal
insights into her life, saying that she travels constantly all
over India, often to remote areas to visit the common people,
as "it is only by going out and interacting with people that
we are in a better position to understand their problems and
determine what they want."

While discussing relations between India and US, the
cable reports: "Mrs Gandhi jokingly pointed out that the
`Indian Left is anti-American,` but then agreed that its
stance was aimed at `American policy` rather than the American
people... Mrs Gandhi also pointed out that many Indian Muslims
"resent certain policies of the US."

-PTI inputs