Sonia Gandhi: Will Mother India Part 2 deliver, Mr Salman Khurshid?

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Recently, P Shankar Rao, a former Andhra Pradesh minister, said that the new state of Telangana should be named after Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. On Wednesday, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said the party president is not just the mother of Rahul Gandhi but the entire India.

These talks remind us of the Emergency of 1975-77 when the then Congress party president Debakanta Baruah said that "Indira is India and India is Indira". Had the Congress not defeated in the 1977 polls, may be we would have been known as 'Indirans' today instead of 'Indians'.

The culture in the Congress is the same today. But what is different is while the Congressmen displayed such sycophancy from a position of strength and loyalty earlier, today it is mainly expressed from a position of weakness and despair. When Indira ruled, the idea was to bring the entire country under an authoritarian rule. In the days of Sonia Gandhi, the concern is who is going to offer even a minimum leadership to the party and its beleaguered government.

Whether strong or weak, the Congress's culture has remained the same

By deifying Sonia Gandhi as the mother of the entire nation, he indirectly puts her actual son, Rahul Gandhi, under a scrutiny. And Khurshid is not alone to do so. Many other senior leaders, whether of the Congress or any of its allies, have gradually started questioning Rahul Gandhi's method of running things and with the heir looking uncertain, the Congress is tilting more in favour of the old guard. And hence the kind words.

But the question is: Will the common Indians be ready to accept themselves as the children of Sonia Gandhi? After seeing the verdict in four states that went to the polls recently, it is unlikely. Only Mizoram was a consolation prize for the Congress, which also symbolises that the party has been pushed to the periphery.

The Congress's only way of bringing a radical change in its working is to name a new prime ministerial candidate. For, in another four months, it is impossible to do anything substantial. The party was happy wasting time all these years by allowing the crises to take care of themselves and bashing Narendra Modi, thinking too-much talking in the media will do the job for it in the polls.

But when it didn't happen, the party started to run for cover as it did in the late 1990s when it found a shelter under Sonia Gandhi's hands. But will be it be easy for Sonia Gandhi to repeat her feat? Or will the nation dump its mother?

For Salman Khurshid, the shock could be immense.

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