Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Talking of greed, Sonia Gandhi (pictured above), the president of India’s ruling Congress party, beefed up her government’s austerity drive yesterday by forgoing her private army plane and taking a commercial flight to a party rally in Mumbai. Gandhi has been leading a campaign to make symbolic gestures of solidarity with India’s poverty-stricken millions who are coping with the worst drought in 20 years as well as the global recession. The Congress leader has already intervened to ban ministers from staying in 5-star hotels in the capital and to scale down the security of 50 ministers who, up until now, have been trailed by armed soldiers. Such is the sway of the Gandhi that the cabinet has been scrambling to comply. On Saturday, the finance minister took a budget airline to Kolkata. Not to be outdone, India’s external affairs minister, S M Krishna (pity his first name isn’t Harry), announced his next trip to central Asia will be on a commercial flight and will include 3, rather than 20, accompanying officials. The foreign minister usually travels by private jet. Any chance Sonia couild visit the House of Commons and UK boardrooms to offer some advice ?