Okay, the extraordinary SPG-dictated security, her deep accent, her inability to speak any Indian language (she began Hindi lessons only two years ago) and the tendency of her translators to fly off at a tangent have created an impenetrable wall between her and the women she wants to reach out to. But, with her carefully-orchestrated 'vulnerable widow' act, Sonia is trying desperately to tap ma-in-law Indira's constituents in her (and the Congress') hour of need.
At an iftar party hosted by C.K. Jaffer Sharif in Bangalore, she skipped the men and proceeded to the women who took out currency notes, bus tickets, anything from their handbags, for her to touch and bless. And at her 10 Janpath durbars, Sonia studiously avoids city-slickers and reaches out to rural women. "Just like the Queen of England," says a political observer.