Is it time for Sonia Gandhi to be prime minister?

The diagnosis of the UPA’s chronic illness since the 2009 polls has been markedly conventional. Everybody agrees that prime minister Manmohan Singh has messed up big-time, and that there has got to be a change at the top sooner not later, if “young” Rahul Gandhi‘s hopes are not to be dashed.

As for the aspirants, the usual names do the rounds: finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, the senior most leader in the party, whom the family doesn’t trust, home minister P. Chidambaram, whom the party can doesn’t trust, and neither of whom trust each other.

But do either Mukherjee or Chidambaram or anybody else in the party at the moment have in it in them to pull the Congrfess out of the hole and give it a push? In the Bombay newspaper DNA, editor-in-chief Aditya Sinha challenges the conventional wisdom, by suggesting that Sonia Gandhi should disregard her “moral voice” she first heard in 2004 with 2014 in mind:

“Perhaps the only thing left to be done that would undoubtedly shake everyone up and energise the government is for Congress President Sonia Gandhi to take over from Dr Manmohan Singh.

“It’s obvious, isn’t it?

“She is, after all, head of the dominant party of the UPA. If any of the allies threaten to walk out, she can walk them straight into jail. Imagine: if she throws Sharad Pawar in jail, she’ll become the Queen of Anti-Corruption (after all, Anna Hazare earned his crusading credentials by opposing Pawar).

“Rahul Gandhi won’t evade ministerial responsibilities for he’ll want to help his mother steer the ship of government through the choppy waters of global recession. Sonia at the helm of government will boost the Congress’s chances in UP. And she can smoothly pass the baton to Rahul in 2014.

“So, Soniaji, we beg you: rid us of this prime minister and instead of replacing him with one of the usual suspects, take matters into your own hands (before Sharad Pawar takes matters into his). After all, you have little to lose, and everything to gain.”

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