She said in her letter that the suspended officer "in the course of her public duties, was seen to be standing up to vested interests engaging in illegal activity" and said that the government must ensure that the officer is treated fairly. Gandhi's letter was shot two days after the IAS Officers' Association met the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, V Narayanasamy.
UPA Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Saturday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to intervene in the suspension of IAS office Durga Shakti Nagpal. Sonia reportedly told the Prime Minister that though the matter is between the Uttar Pradesh government and the IAS officer, the Centre should see how it can intervene in the issue.
The ruling party in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party (SP), hit back at Sonia Gandhi, asking why was the latter not taking up same initiatives for Ashok Khemka, the bureaucrat who was suspended by the Haryana government in connction to a corruption charge against Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra and the two IAS
officers who were suspended by the Rajasthan government. The Congress is in power in both the states.
The SP's countr-charge against Gandhi can't be overlooked. It is difficult to understand why Sonia Gandhi never speaks when similar incidents occur in other states, particularly those ruled by her own party or raise questions about her kin. Even when bombs explode or children die after eating poisoned mid-day
meal in states ruled by a probable ally, the Congress leader isn't heard speaking much. Is she really concerned about administrative reforms in case of Durga Shakti's victimisation or is there a political motive to put pressure on the SP?
There might be another reason behind Sonia Gandhi's coming forward on the Durga Shakti matter and it is the gender issue. Sonia is known for her pro-women favours. It was after the UPA government came to power that India saw its first woman President and Speaker of the Lok Sabha. She was found to be moved by the brutal gangrape of a young woman in New Delhi in December last year. She also went to Haryana in the wake of repeated rape cases. So it is understandable that she would speak in favour of Durga too.
But unlike in the other cases, Gandhi's concern for Durga looked to be politically divisive for it was more concerned with politico-administrative complexities rather than a simple gender discrimination. Power structures don't harbour soft corners over gender considerations and Durga Shakti's case is a case in point.
Sonia Gandhi's sympathy for executives must flow irrespective of gender, party colour or relations. But she failed to deliver on these counts. By trying to be gender-sensitive, the Congress chief showed her insensitivity towards administrative fairness.