Italian papers covered the results of the Indian election through an understandable fondness for a woman now known only as Sonia Gandhi.
‘India, il trionfo di Sonia Gandhi’ or ‘India, the victory of Sonia Gandhi’ shouted the front page of La Repubblica, one of the country’s largest newspapers. The lead photo had four Congress supporters with a Sonia poster. The story had a quote from her thanking the people of India, but thereafter, the piece forgot about her. It dwelt on Manmohan Singh and his post-liberalisation legacy. There were itsy bitsy analyses of the BJP, the Left, the economy and Rahul Gandhi, but nothing more on Sonia.
The Corriere Della Sera, the other big national newspaper in Italy, went with, ‘Trionfo Gandhi e Sonia lancia Rahul’ (‘Triumph launches Sonia Gandhi and Rahul’) on its front page. The paper ran two inside stories. One promised to detail the rise of Rahul and a secret pact with his mother. There was not much on the pact, instead the story was a brief profile of Rahul’s stint in politics and reaffirmed the theory about Manmohan Singh warming the seat for him.
Another round-up, ‘Sonia Gandhi, trionfo a sorpresa’ or ‘Sonia Gandhi, a surprise win’ was an example of an Italian newspaper article in which Manmohan Singh was written about extensively but his name did not figure in the headline. The story spoke of the vanishing of an instability nightmare overnight.
La Stampa, a national newspaper, had a front page pointer with a picture of Sonia Gandhi. In the inside pages, there was a profile with the headline ‘La vedova italiana che governa nell’ombra’ or ‘The Italian Widow who governs in the shade’. The piece started by stating that the one thing that is never necessary to remember is that Sonia is actually Miss Edvige Antonia Albina Maino from Lusiana.