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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 May 2004, 15:50 GMT 16:50 UK
Your voice: Indian political situation
After a turbulent few days in Indian politics, the Congress party has picked former finance minister Manmohan Singh as its choice for the country's next prime minister.

It follows leader Sonia Gandhi's decision to turn down the post.

We asked BBC News Online users their thoughts as events unfolded.

Sandeep Raghuwanshi, Seoul, South Korea, originally from Bhopal, India

Sandeep Raghuwanshi
Manmohan Singh is much more qualified to lead India than Sonia Gandhi

Manmohan Singh has proved he is capable of solving the problems of this country.

Whatever progress we have made is due to him. He is much more qualified to lead India than Sonia Gandhi.

To me, she did not show herself to be capable or qualified to hold a complex position like prime minister.

The timing of her declaration not to accept the office made me suspicious that there were more reasons behind the 'renunciation'.

Why did she hear this 'inner voice' only after her meeting with the president?

Was it because certain valid questions about her citizenship were raised?

In any case Manmohan Singh is a much better choice and I'm glad that this appears to have been resolved.

Krishnan Balasubramanian, Delhi, India

I congratulate Sonia and her family for their courageous yet selfless services to the nation
Sonia Gandhi had every right to choose what she felt right to do, as every citizen in this country does.

She has lived up to the expectations of every honourable Indian citizen.

Mother Teresa never held any position but she is revered as a supreme human being among us.

So if Sonia decides to serve the country without holding any post, like numerous great Indians did in the past, like Mahatma Gandhi, or Acharya Vinoba Bhave, that's fine.

It is a welcome move in the era of the crooked power hungry political rogues. This should be an eye-opener to all those who intend to serve without looking for benefits and positions.

I congratulate Sonia and her family for their courageous yet selfless services to the nation.

My earnest hope is that she can involve herself more deeply and serve the nation in the best possible way without looking for benefits or rewards.

Suresh Johnpillai, Oslo, Norway, formerly from Southern India

To become prime minister you should understand fully the culture of the country you are being elected to lead
I was not against Sonia Gandhi becoming prime minister of India.

But India is a vast country and people who have not lived their whole life there couldn't understand the diversity.

How could an Italian-born with another background lead India?

To become prime minister you should understand fully the culture of the country you are being elected to lead.

But I honestly believe she does not. She doesn't even speak the language.

I have lived in Norway for 15 years and I don't think I'm qualified to run for office here.

It is only native born citizens who can become leaders of Western countries.

Do you agree with the opinions expressed here? What is your experience of the political situation in India? Send us your comments using the form at the bottom of the page.

The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

Sonia and the Congress Party are masters at the art of politics. Alas, they do not demonstrate the same expertise in governance
Krish, Seattle, USA
Sonia and the Congress Party have shown they are masters at the art of politics. Alas, they do not demonstrate the same expertise in governance. They turned a situation where she would have either not been qualified to be PM or not receive the requisite support into an act of sacrifice at the altar of secularism.
Krish, Seattle, USA

Sonia Gandhi did the right thing by stepping down. She may have proven to be a great PM, but, in the end, she is someone who would not have represented the traditions and culture of India. To expect a naturalised citizen to run a country is unwarranted and in most Western countries, prohibited constitutionally. Not that Western countries' models dictate the norm, but this certainly further illustrates the necessity of someone indigenous, and not foreign, to head a country.
Niyati Vyas, Washington DC, USA

Dr Manmohan Singh had the intentions of reviving the Indian economy even during his college days. His thesis was based upon improving a country like India. He has shown his ability with his policies earlier and he will make sure it benefits the poor. India has a lot to do, where the previous government failed and flattered itself with "India Shining" campaign, it just reaped the success which Dr Singh sowed.
Sundar Victor, USA

The real reason Manmohan Singh will become PM is to stop conflicts with Sikhs
Marrio Singh, Svoge, Bulgaria
Manmohan Singh is a wise man but the real reason he will become PM is to stop conflicts with Sikhs. Sonia Gandhi made a big mistake. Gandhis always proved that they make good leaders and I am anger that Sonia made this decision. Although I am Sikh I don't accept the politics of the Sikh party. I am confused but I too think that Manmohan Sikh will try to do everything to stop the conflict.
Marrio Singh, Svoge, Bulgaria

I am glad Sonia Gandhi did not accept the most respected position in India, when we have highly qualified politicians who are truly Indian by birth and at heart. She would have done more disservice to the ideals of the nation had she accepted to become the PM. I still cannot understand how sections of the Indian population can blindly favour a foreign born person who happened to be a widow of a leader, lead India, the largest democracy in the world. I am quite confident the country is in good hands, now that a revered man in Manmohan Singh has been chosen to lead. Hope he will find a solution to feed the poor and find a peaceful solution to the Kashmir stalemate.
Madhu Akella, Michigan, USA

It is quite amazing that in a country that is 85% Hindu and 13% Muslim a Sikh will be PM! Only in India! This rightfully flies in the face of the Colonial British statements during independence that there is a Hindu India, there is Muslim India, and so on. This a great day for India when one candidate hands power to another based on merit and conscience.
Vidyotham Reddi, Maple Grove, Minnesota, USA

It's not fair to target a person like Sonia Gandhi all the time just because she was not born in India
Gautam Mukherjee, New Delhi, India
I don't agree with Suresh. You may not know all the languages, and in a country like India, how many north Indians speak southern languages. It's not fair to target a person like Mrs Sonia Gandhi all the time just because she was not born in India. She has been here in India for the last 25 years, and she has good experience of the multicultural activities in India. She did a nice thing by refusing the PM post. I am sure she will come up with a full majority in the next election.
Gautam Mukherjee, New Delhi, India

I agree with Krishnan Balasubramanian. It is Mrs Gandhi's decision whether to accept or not to accept the post of PM. Besides what really matters is the policies of the Congress Party, their vision for the poor. And I definitely see this speaking in itself in the election results. Congratulations to Mrs Gandhi and her Congress Party, you are the rulers anyway!
Nilesh Prakash, Suva, Fiji Islands

I did not have a problem with Mrs Gandhi leading the nation, if she is deemed the most suitable candidate. However, I also sympathise with those that feel India, with a population of a billion plus, should be able to find a handful of native born people that are capable of leading the nation.
Tony Mitra, Canada

Manmohan Singh has certainly proved himself capable of coping with the needs of a billion people, at least in economic terms. Sonia Gandhi, meanwhile, has conceded that she is less suited to the role, and rightly so. However, I feel she has conducted herself in the correct manner and will continue to be highly respected and play a very important part in India's future progress.
Will Graham, Melbourne, Australia

Manmohan Singh has no business to be the PM
Mohan Kishore, Las Vegas, USA
Manmohan Singh has not faced the electorate in this election. I raise a doubt as to how many people would have voted for him, had he done so. He has no business to be the PM. End of story.
Mohan Kishore, Las Vegas, USA

Where was Sonia's "inner voice" until now? Since the election campaign, she was projected as PM candidate of Congress. She never spoke a single word against the BJP. She was elected CPP Leader, who would be the PM candidate from the party. Suddenly, she comes out and says she opted out for the reason that her inner voice told her? Who believes it?
Radha Kumar Reddy, Hyderabad, India

Sonia Gandhi's sane decision is to be respected. She understands that leading a country of India's complexity and diversity needs a much deeper comprehension of the Indian tradition and ethos.
Purushottamudu R, East Brunswick, NJ, USA

I was worried about Sonia's lack of political experience
Poorna Mysoor, Hong Kong
This drama competes with Bollywood in terms of exaggerated emotional outbursts. It is not that I did not want Sonia to be the PM. I was worried about her lack of political experience. Constant nagging by the hardliners as to her foreign origin throughout her tenure would have been too heavy a burden to shoulder, over and above running the biggest democracy and a thriving economy.
Poorna Mysoor, Hong Kong

The decision taken by Sonia Gandhi was a wise one. It is my belief that she won the election based on the venerable Gandhi name and because the people wanted a change. A person who speaks the national language haltingly and does not understand the true India cannot be made Prime Minister. Manmohan Singh is the reason behind India's current economic success. He was the architect of India's economic reforms and a man who is held in the very highest esteem by colleagues and the population alike. As one of his former colleagues said, "at last we have a Prime Minister who will be totally honest." At last this mess has been sorted out. I for one know that my country is in safe hands.
Amrit Kolluru, Cambridge, New Zealand, originally from Delhi, India

A top economist as a prime minister and a top scientist as a president - what a combination. No doubt India will zoom on growth - both technological and economical.
Kamal Jain, Bellevue, USA

India votes 2004: Full in-depth coverage here

Cabinet members Old faces return
Gandhi family loyalists back in from the cold, but no fresh blood in cabinet.




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