Ghandi's grace good sign for Indian politics

Posted: Thursday, May 27, 2004

What India's Sonia Gandhi did is unthinkable for a modern politician: With the prime minister's post hers for the taking, in response to what she called ''her inner voice,'' Gandhi turned it down.

Hindu nationalists had threatened to riot if she became prime minister because of her Italian birth. Now mobs of Gandhi's supporters did riot to get her to change her mind.

She quietly refused and in her place the party selected Manmohan Singh, 71, a respected economist. The choice of Singh had an immediate benefit: India's financial markets, which had plunged, recovered strongly.

One hopes that Gandhi's graceful refusal to serve will dampen an ugly streak of religious fanaticism and xenophobia that taints Indian politics.

The Cincinnati Post,

May 20

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