Left leaders lose patience, attack ‘White’ Sonia

via Pioneer News Service | Kochi published on February 20, 2008

The same Left parties which had once opposed the tendency of certain organisations to project Congress president Sonia Gandhi as a foreigner who had no right to meddle in the political and governmental affairs of India, have begun criticising her on racial lines with obvious references to her white complexion.

In the forefront of this attack against Sonia on racial lines is Veliyam Bhargavan, the traditionalist Kerala secretary of the CPI, the second largest party in the CPI (M)-led Left coalition. Bhargavan had enraged Congress leaders and workers in Kerala with his harsh references last weekend to Sonia as ‘Madamma’, the Malayalam word for a White-skinned lady. Though the Malayalam word Madamma is derived from the English term Madame, it is used as a derogatory remark against a White–skinned woman, who is despised by society.

Responding to some remarks Sonia had made against the Left and the State Government during her visit to Kerala last week, the CPI leader warned her not to try to scare the Left with her statements. Indicating that Sonia was a political ignoramus, Bhargavan alleged that the Congress president and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had no relations with the people of the country.

“We are supporting the Congress at the Centre just to keep the BJP away from power,” he said. Therefore, “the Madamma” should not hope that she could get away with her efforts to scare the Left here with some statements, he added.

Deputy leader of the Congress in the Kerala Assembly and former minister G Karthikeyan objected strongly to the CPI leader’s attack on Sonia saying a leader of Bhargavan’s stature should have better control over his tongue. Sonia had on last Friday said that the Left parties should not think that they could do anything in Kerala just because they were supporting the Congress-led UPA at the Centre.

Other Left leaders had also spoken against Sonia for her statement against the Left parties and the LDF Government in Kerala. Third-time re-elected CPI (M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said either Sonia had no knowledge about Kerala or she was hiding her knowledge for deliberately attacking the Left parties. He inverted Sonia’s statement saying the Congress president should not think that she could say anything about Kerala.

CPI (M) Politburo member and State Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan described Sonia as a politically immature person. Stating that her criticism against the Left in Kerala reflected her immaturity as a political leader, he said she should not have made that statement being in the position as the chairperson of the UPA, the coalition that ruled the Centre with Left support.

CPI (M)’s Cooperation Minister G Sudhakaran took strong objection to her remark and responded to it in his characteristic language saying she should think of ways to come back to power in the Centre without hoping to sit on the shoulders of Left parties. He said Sonia did not know anything about the political situation in the country.

Analysts say that the recent remarks by Left leaders, particularly the CPI secretary, were proof of the hypocrisy in the universal humanism advocated by communists. “The Left leaders have always opposed the criticisms made by several parties against Sonia in national interest that she has no right to lead a country where does not belong. They had projected such criticisms as racial discrimination. But now when the foreign-born lady is making comments against their political integrity, their tolerance is broken and they take out their innermost convictions against her. I feel that Bhargavan had made the comment in a slip of the tongue but it is ample proof of his real perspective on her,” said the Left specialist of a leading Malayalam newspaper.

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