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Published in the 16-30 Jun 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Poisonous pamphlets target Sonia

New Delhi: Despite Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s renouncing the post of prime minister, for which she was fully eligible, the smear campaign by the Sangh Parivar [RSS family] goes on. 

It seems BJP has decided to flog the dead issue of "foreign origin" irrespective of personalities involved. "Sonia Gandhi is nowhere in the picture. The issue is foreign origin. We are very clear. That is our conviction today, tomorrow, day after tomorrow. Irrespective of Sonia, we will pursue this issue. Even if tomorrow some American comes here and wants to become President or Prime Minister, we will pursue it," BJP president Venkaiah Naidu said in New Delhi on 3 June. The message from the Parivar is clear: even if Sonia has renounced the high office, the vilification campaign against her will continue as the just trounced BJP is bereft at present of any big issue.

True to the backstabbing art the Parivar has perfected over the years, members of saffron brigade are now circulating anonymous pamphlets questioning the reason for Sonia Gandhi's decision to back away from the country’s top executive job. 

One of the pamphlets titled "The Whole Truth" is being circulated in some areas of Delhi. This two-page document claims that President APJ Abdul Kalam had refused to swear her in as PM while the fact is that the President's office had issued an official denial of this rumour as soon as it was floated after Sonia's rejection of the high post.

The allegation that Kalam raised some supposed legal impediments in his meeting with Sonia on May 18 first appeared in the Pioneer and the Asian Age, both now toeing pro-BJP line. The President’s office promptly issued a formal denial on May 19 saying that the Congress president’s citizenship issue did not figure in their discussions in any way.

The denial of the President’s office has not been mentioned in the Sangh Parivar pamphlet. Its aim seems to confuse the people and perpetuate a myth that it was not out of her own choice that Sonia had rejected to become prime minister.

The pamphlet seeks to trivialise the ultimate sacrifice of a political leader which demonstrated that Sonia Gandhi was more loyal to Indian tradition of self-denial than the ultranationalists of the Hindutva. The questionable nature of the pamphlet is evident as there is no printline, nor any name of the author or publisher. The contents of the pamphlet are also being sent worldwide through e-mails by sympathetic individuals and groups.

Sangh people have floated many such pamphlets against Muslims, Christians and Dalits in recent years. «

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