Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Gandhi v/s Gandhi starts on a pleasant note

By: Subhadeep Bhattacharjee

The Gandhis may have ruled this country directly or indirectly for most parts in the last 60 years but the 15th Lok Sabha will have the highest representation from India's unofficial first family. Indira Gandhi's two bahus (daughter-in-laws) Sonia Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi along with their betas (sons) Rahul Gandhi and Varun Gandhi respectively will grace the holiest temple of Indian Democracy.

Whats more interesting is the fact that the two mother and son duo will be occupying opposite sides of the Lok Sabha. While Sonia and Rahul will be in limelight having led the Congress to a thumping victory in the elections Meneka and Varun will be in the back benches of the opposition as no queenly or princely treatment is served to them by the saffron brigade.

The first day of the Lok Sabha began on a warm and pleasant note for the two estranged factions of the Gandhi family. After a bitterly fought election battle Varun Gandhi greeted his aunt Sonia Gandhi with folded hands before taking oath in the house. Rahul Gandhi was not far behind in returning the greetings bowed his head as a gesture of respect towards Maneka Gandhi.

There seems to have been some ease in tension between the two families as the Congress president smiled as she watched Varun read out his oath in Hindi. Maneka looked similarly indulgent when Rahul took oath in English and even thumped the desk as he was sworn in. However there had to be a climax in the Devrani-Jethani tale and Maneka didn't meet Sonia's eye while taking oath.

Life is at times an irony isn't it, had Menaka Gandhi not had a fallout with Saasu Ma Indira Gandhi and her Jethani Sonia Gandhi she could have easily been holding a key post in the Congress. Varun Gandhi who is trying to create a place for himself in Indian politics would have surely been touted as the future Deputy Prime Minister of the Country if elder cousin Rahul would get the top job.

The irony however is Meneka's decision to go against her family after the death of her husband Sanjay Gandhi has cost her dearly when it comes to politics. She should have become used to the jai jai kars that Sonia and Rahul hear and the royal treatment meted out to them wherever they go. Her son Varun would not have been forced to make an anti-Muslim statement for mere publicity as he surely would have been the Chhote Nawab behind bare bhaiyaa Rahul.

It will be interesting to see the political debates in the Lok Sabha this time. Will Varun Gandhi question his estranged cousin Rahul on the developmental issue or will Meneka challenge the Congress led government on Animal Rights. But as they say politics is all about uncertainty and the Gandhis might be sitting on the same side of the house in the 16th Lok Sabha.


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