If 1.3 billion people of India, one fifth of the world population, have one common weakness it is their infatuation for the game of Cricket and its icon and "Little Master," Sachin Tendulkar. You hit Sachin, you hit the underbelly of India; you get Sachin and you win the battle in India.
By getting Sachin Tendulkar on her side, Sonia Gandhi, the president of the National congress party is proving that she has mastered the hitting style and technique of Sachin Tendulkar and can deftly deliver her own sixes in the game of Indian Politics.
By offering Sachin Tendulkar a seat in 'Rajya Sabha', the upper house of the Indian parliament, Sonia and her Congress party managers have virtually 'stolen thunder' from their arch rival, the Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP) who would have loved to have him as their own MP.
The BJP is virtually crying out "Damn them! They will not let our play run, but they steal our thunder." In fact what the BJP legislator Madhav Bhandari said had a taste of sour grapes:
"As a fan of Tendulkar, I will welcome this move, but as an observer of politics, it will be like keeping him away from his biggest passion -- cricket. I also see this as a trick to keep Tendulkar from a Bharat Ratna (an award of honour)."
The political war of words has escalated in to a war on twitter, with a trending hashtag #unfollowsachin which was allegedly created by members of BJP collecting a lot of tweets criticizing Sachin Tendulkar and supporting him, which however seems to have backfired.
By accepting the offer from Sonia Gandhi, Sachin has proved to his distracters and supporters alike that his achievement as a master blaster of cricket is as much the manifestation of a brilliant mind as it is in seizing a rare honour and opportunity bestowed up on him by destiny.
Even though the decision to nominate Sachin to the Rajya Sabha seems to have been taken much before, around the time he scored his 100th century in international cricket in a match in Bangladesh, where Sonia Gandhi really scores is in the timing and speed with which she has taken the country by surprise by securing the support of its national icon.
The timing and announcement has in fact come as a huge and successful distraction and diversion from the new revelations on the Bofors Gun deal scandal, by the Swedish police chief Sten Lindstrom which the BJP and the opposition tried to capitalize on both in parliament and outside, with new demands for investigation against Rajiv Gandhi and the Congress party.
If Sachin Tendulkar, who along with his wife was invited by Sonia and gave his acceptance, was the biggest catch and new asset to the ailing party in need of new blood and leadership, Sonia Gandhi's choice and nomination of another Indian Icon movie idol, Rekha is no less a master stroke.
Such is the beauty and personality of Rekha, a star of yester years, that this new MP will no doubt ensure the attendance and good behaviour of all her party members and even the opposition in the house whenever it will be in session in the future.
Sonia Gandhi, the widow of Rajiv Gandhi is surely mastering the art of getting the pulse of India, something her mother in law Indira Gandhi excelled in.
Follow Sreedhar Pillai on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lastingrose