But that was it. Her speech, kicking off the Congress campaign, lacked the zing that Modi gives to waiting crowds, even if it is about a retracted RTI application on Sonia's alleged spending on foreign travel. The most dramatic bit in her 15-minute speech was, "They are not against corruption, they are only against us". You could almost hear the crowd missing the 'maut ka saudagar' sting of 2007, and watch the prompts to clap..
Sonia Gandhi's 'bordering-on-economics' speech clarifying that states were free to reject the UPA's FDI policy which would get rid of "middlemen to benefit farmers" and that UPA gave more funds to develop Gujarat than the NDA, and that crude oil which sold Rs 32 a barrel in NDA's time, is now sold for Rs 140 per barrel would be lost on the rustic farmers that the Congress had collected to listen to her.
Claiming credit for the Narmada dam project is okay, there was no point telling people that in the last 10 years the Narmada waters have not reached Saurashtra, especially after Modi's recent announcement on the 'Sauni' yojana to revive 115 small and large dams in Saurashtra with Narmada waters.
In fact, the cheer that Shankersinh Vaghela got for his remarks like “let us throw out the children of Gandhi's killers, from Gandhinagar” before Sonia, should have been a cue for her speechwriters. But the opportunity may be lost now with the election commission likely to announce polling dates any moment and thus blunting campaign speeches further.
And what an opportunity! This was a crowd in Saurashtra -- a part of Gujarat that is chauvinistic, open to change, has produced the biggest rebels against Modi, a la Keshubhai Patel, and can swing 58 of the 182 seats in Gujarat.
At best, the Congress's star campaigner simply skimmed the surface of the hottest issues like the Dalit shootout, the non appointment of Lokayukta and farmer suicides. Spoiling the party was the clumsy logistics of the Congress. As Modi's jamborees gain more finesse, here we had Congressmen hurriedly handing shawls and garlanding Sonia as crowds waited in the sun.