Attempts to block book on India's Sonia Gandhi only fueled interest: author

Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:29am EST
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By Tony Tharakan

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Efforts by India's Congress party to block the publication of a "dramatized" biography of its president Sonia Gandhi only stoked interest in the book, said author Javier Moro.

"The Red Sari", the English translation of the 2008 Spanish-language "El sari rojo", hit bookstands in India last week, seven months after the party was ousted after a decade in power.

"I'm thankful, because they gave me a fabulous free publicity campaign," said Moro, speaking in Spanish about the protests against the book at an event in India's capital on Tuesday.

"The Red Sari" was ranked second among new releases on the Amazon India website's bestseller list on Wednesday.

The Italian-born Gandhi, 68, has played a reduced public role since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party snatched power from the Congress in May.

Moro said he was surprised there were no books available on the media-shy politician, who rose from obscurity after her marriage into India's Gandhi dynasty and was thrust into the limelight as the widow of an assassinated former premier.

Gandhi took over the reins of a floundering Congress party in 1998 and was the architect of its unexpected triumph in national elections six years later.

In what was seen as a masterstroke in the wake of protests over her Italian birth, she declined to become prime minister, preferring to wield power from behind the scenes.   Continued...

India's Congress Party chief Sonia Gandhi walks after paying homage at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial on the 145th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat in New Delhi October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi