Sonia Gandhi was all set to become PM in 2004 but Subramanian Swamy broke her dream
Indian National Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi celebrates her 73rd birthday today. Known as the adhesive for Congress party, Sonia Gandhi is arguably one of the most powerful women in the country. She was featured in Forbes list of the 100 most powerful women. Today on her birthday, we are bringing you one of the biggest highlights of her life when she almost became the Prime Minister of India. We will tell you why even after having majority Sonia Gandhi couldn’t become the Prime Minister of India.
When Sonia-led UPA got the majority with Congress emerging as the single-largest party in the 2004 General Election, we all assumed that Sonia Gandhi will become the Prime Minister. After all, they had defeated Vajpayee-era BJP’s “India Shining’ campaign claims. But the drama that unfolded afterward was uncalled, unprecedented and never witnessed before.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan had even prepared a letter appointing Sonia Gandhi as the Prime Minister. But the President’s office had to change the name as Sonia Gandhi told then- President APJ Abdul Kalam that she has nominated Dr. Manmohan Singh for the post.
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Why Sonia Gandhi didn’t opt to become the Prime Minister?
While Indian National Congress party members and other leaders from UPA were pressing the reluctant-politician Sonia Gandhi to stake the claim to the office of Prime Minister, she was held back by various leaders from the opposition who threatened to challenge her appointment through constitutional and legal means.
The then Janta Party leader Subramanian Swamy, who is currently a Rajya Sabha member from BJP, challenged Gandhi’s nomination on the grounds that her Indian citizenship was flawed and suspect as she hadn’t given up her Italian citizenship. According to the RTI filed by a Delhi-based activist Subhash Agarwal, Swamy in his letter to the President said that Sonia Gandhi couldn’t be made the Prime Minister according to the provisions in the Citizenship Act. The letter also said that Dr. Subramanian Swamy will challenge the decision in court.
Another BJP leader, Late Shushma Swaraj had said that she would ‘shave her head’ and leave politics if Sonia Gandhi became the Prime Minister.
Sonia Gandhi when came to the Rashtrapati Bhavan to stake a claim of the Prime Minister office, Dr. Manmohan Singh was accompanying her. The President got surprised as, for whatever reasons and arguments, Sonia named Dr. Manmohan Singh as the candidate for PM.
Dr. Manmohan Singh, who is credited for economic reform in 1991, was sworn-in as the PM in 2004. Although, the opposition alleged that while the economist-turned-PM was the front of the PM office, Congress and UPA Chief Sonia Gandhi was actually calling the shots.
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