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Sikh News India's 'odd couple' take up reins of power

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Admin Singh, May 25, 2009.

  1. Admin Singh

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    NEW DELHI (AFP) — When India's enigmatic Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi first nominated the studious Manmohan Singh as premier in 2004, observers had their antennae tuned for signs of the first rift.

    But five years on, the elegant Italian-born widow and the 76-year-old turbaned Sikh, dubbed the "odd couple" by India's media, are heading into another term of office after Congress's huge re-election victory.

    And they would appear -- outwardly, at least -- to still be on good terms.

    After the results rolled in last weekend showing Congress sweeping to its biggest win in 18 years, Gandhi beamed as she ushered the septuagenarian to a podium outside her home and declared he would again be her choice for premier.

    There have been whispers of clashes but Gandhi, a fit and attractive 62, has said she and Singh have always worked in harmony.

    "I adore the prime minister for the manner in which he handles the government," the widow of former premier Rajiv Gandhi and daughter-in-law of former prime minister Indira Gandhi -- both of whom were assassinated -- said in 2007.

    "We work very closely in an atmosphere of frankness," said Gandhi, who arrived in India as a bride in her early 20s and has transformed herself into a sari-clad Indian who speaks Hindi fluently, albeit with an accent.

    In 2004, in a blitzkrieg campaign courting India's poor masses, she led the centre-left Congress to a surprise poll triumph after years in the wilderness.

    She gave up the chance to be premier, instead nominating the softly spoken Singh, an esteemed economist who has earned the reputation of being the "Mr Clean's Mr Clean" in India's murky politics.

    "I must admire her political sagacity," Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee said this week for the way she has managed to silence opposition taunts that she was a power-hungry "foreign doll."

    Pundits reckon however Gandhi still calls the shots in the partnership, taking on India's bruising political wheeler-dealing while Singh administers the nation's affairs.

    "It's a very convenient division of labour -- he's good on policy and she looks after the politics. They also have a certain innate mutual respect," said columnist Parsa Venkateshwar Rao.

    Gandhi's emergence as India's most powerful politician caps a remarkable life story.

    Daughter of a middle-class Italian builder, she was thrust into the world of India's political first family after marrying Rajiv Gandhi in 1968, whom she met at a restaurant in England where she was studying English.

    Before she came to live with his family, she knew only India had "snakes, elephants and jungles," she recalled once.

    Her husband's assassination in 1991 by a Tamil rebel suicide bomber left Congress in limbo and the party turned to his widow to rebuild it. Her makeover from a stiff, shy housewife into a public persona was tough.

    "I used to be a very, very private person," said Gandhi, who still almost never gives interviews. "It took a great deal of adjustment... to be in the limelight."

    There are cynics who say she opted for Singh because his self-effacing style meant he was unlikely to seize centre-stage from the charismatic Nehru-Gandhi dynasty which has given India three premiers.

    She is seen as carefully managing the eventual rise to the premiership of her son Rahul Gandhi, 38, whom she thrust into a central role in the latest campaign.

    Rahul "has earned his political legitimacy in this election," said veteran commentator M.J. Akbar. "It is highly likely at some point there may even be a transition in government with Singh making way for Rahul."

    Many in Congress cannot conceive of a future without a Gandhi in charge, but Sonia has insisted Rahul must prove himself if he wants to become premier.

    "If you have a family whose earlier generations have been in politics it gives you a head start," she said.

    "But India is a democracy. You may have an advantage at the beginning but you have to work hard to prove yourself," she added knowingly.
     

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  3. Archived_Member5

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    Re: News Printer-friendly version India's 'odd couple' take up reins of power

    Is it not heartening to know Manmohan Singh Ji is the respectable and competent face of an otherwise decidedly wicked, ineffectual and evil state of tyranny. WaheGuru’s peace and honour be upon our Sikh elder amidst rather suspect officiates basking in his trusted standing and good sense in these turbulent times of hypocrisy, religious and racial divisions and general upheaval in India. One can almost understand why this Good King is a reluctant one. Sikhs have much to be proud of in this dignitary standing for an empire and body exposed to accusations of former oppression and barbaric attacks upon his homeland and states holiest shrine. An indicative sign of the times, perhaps.The Sikhs have much to be proud of in this gentleman of years, yet humility prohibits egotism and a sense of being denied equality in their own nation deters any laud or favourable sentiment of the denizens of politics and the media, the driving force and will behind the modern state of play, basking in the reflected trustworthiness and glory. Sant Jarnail Singh Bindranwalle would indeed be proud were he alive today...WaheGuru Ji.

    **The blacks have gained the presidency and the much craved for equality and justice, The BNP has placed its Bowles as the driving force behind Gordon Brown, supposedly Italy will be greatly honoured for having its daughter preside over the Indian secularised minorities. The Vatican must by duly and rightly so proud. The path to power of trinity of feminists is now near complete.**
     
    #2 Archived_Member5, May 26, 2009
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
  4. dalsingh

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    Re: News Printer-friendly version India's 'odd couple' take up reins of power

    Do you mind elaborating on your above statement Jeeti?
     
  5. Archived_Member5

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    I think its perfectly self explanatory, what part in particular dont you understand or have failed to grasp. Kindly stop trolling me unless you wish to adress a point in my response or have an alternative view to offer. Thankyou in advance for your compliance. WaheGuru di Kirpa naal - this is my final post.

    My utmost respect and regards to the honourable Prime Minister and former economist ManMohan Singh Ji, my fathers namesake, who was also called Mohan, may he live long, in good health and prosper...JJ.
     
    #4 Archived_Member5, May 26, 2009
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  6. dalsingh

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    Jeeti, who is this Bowles behind Gordon Brown?

    Plus what is this path to power you refer to in your last sentence?


    And no Jeeti, your posts are frequently difficult to decipher due to your use of archaic English and cryptic references.

    Please enlighten us.
     
  7. Archived_Member5

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    Last Post.
     

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