Thursday, 20 September 2018

Why did Sanjay Gandhi's family join the BJP when they belonged to the ruling Gandhi family?

C:Rahul sabel
There are two facets to this story. One Political and the other Personal. Read on to know more......

Let us start with the Personal one.

Rajiv (elder son of Indira Gandhi) and Sonia got married in 1968. Sanjay (younger son of Indira Gandhi) and Maneka got married six years later in 1974. The two daughter-in-laws of the Gandhi family were perfectly opposite to each other in nature

On becoming a part of the Gandhi family, Sonia became the typical Indian daughter-in-law ! She started calling her mother-in-law "Mummy", started wearing sarees, started learning Hindi, learnt cooking, would look after the household chores and take care of the home! She was shy and frightened at the same time to be a part of the family that was constantly in the public eye.

Maneka, on the other hand, was dynamic. She was the daughter of a colonel.She could not adjust to the non-smoking, non-drinking Gandhi family. She knew none of the household chores and did not want to learn cooking. She loved being in the limelight.  As a teenager, she had even done a modelling assignment for a towel (Bombay dyeing, I guess) that caught the eye of Sanjay Gandhi. The sobriety of the  Gandhi residence often suffocated her.

Sonia was content as a wife and a mother. She and Rajiv were happy to to look after their children and stay away from any kind of publicity. Maneka, on the other hand, had political ambitions. She was manipulative and was planning for the future as she believed that Sanjay would someday be the Prime Minister.

The preference for the mother-in-law, Indira Gandhi, was thus clear. Sonia was her favourite. Maneka's fiery temperament and political leanings evoked anger and resentment in Indira Gandhi This often lead to Maneka having disputes with Indira Gandhi as she wasn't someone who could be disregarded or cold-shouldered !! As a result, a rift started to develop within the family which didn't go unnoticed. Maneka hated Indira. Marie Seton wrote in The Sunday Times, "Maneka has done more damage to Indira than anyone else - that awful woman got under her skin".

Now how did this Personal disputes turned Political ?!?!?!

Sanjay Gandhi was the younger son of Indira Gandhi. He was very active in politics and was considered to be the right hand of Indira Gandhi. He wielded great power in Indian politics as well as the Indian National Congress throughout his lifetime. Sanjay Gandhi was then seen as the first preference for Indira Gandhi's political heir and successor.

Maneka Gandhi married Sanjay Gandhi in 1974 and she also started to take keen interest in politics.

Then Emergency happened. Even during the Emergency, Sanjay stood firm behind Indira. After the Emergency was over, the Janata Party came into power. But with Maneka by his side, Sanjay led the Congress back to power within just three years in 1980. In the same year, the couple was blessed with a son (Varun Gandhi). However, in an unfortunate turnaround of events, Sanjay Gandhi died in a plane crash in the same year !!!!

After Sanjay's death, Maneka turned overtly political. She believed that she was the rightful inheritor of Sanjay’s position. However, Indira didn't like Maneka much as they had some serious disputes and she saw to it that her elder and apolitical son, Rajiv Gandhi, was drafted into politics to take Sanjay’s place. As a result, the relations between them grew bitter. So much to the extent that Indira Gandhi threw Maneka Gandhi out of the house. The political legacy of the Gandhi family was thus passed on to Rajiv Gandhi.

Furious Maneka Gandhi then founded her own political party called the Rashtriya Sanjay Manch in 1983. The party had great success in the Andhra Pradesh State Election winning 4 out of 5 seats that it contested. Riding this success, Maneka decided to file the nomination from her husband's seat in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh against Rajiv Gandhi in 1984. Her victory was sure as she had the public sympathy after Sanjay's death. But, in the same year Indira Gandhi was assassinated and the wave of sympathy turned towards Rajiv Gandhi. Rajiv Gandhi won by a huge margin , went on to become India's Prime Minister and Maneka was once again humiliated. This was the final incident that turned Maneka anti-Congress !!

In later years, she joined hands against Oppositon parties of the Congress and finally in the year 2004, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party with her son Varun !!

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