New Delhi: In an unparalleled feat for a political family, four members of the illustrious Nehru-Gandhi lineage would simultaneously occupy seats in India’s 15th Lok Sabha, albeit in rival camps.
With BJP’s firebrand leader Varun Gandhi making it to the Lok Sabha for the first time, Parliament will be host to two mother-son duos of India’s first political family representing two main political parties.
While Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul will be part of the ruling coalition, BJP leader Maneka Gandhi and her son Varun, the saffron party’s latest poster boy will be seated on the opposition benches.
This will be the first time four members of the family, though from its two estranged factions, will simultaneously be in the Lok Sabha that has for most part of its history seen at least one member of the Nehru-Gandhi clan.
The family debuted in Parliament’s lower house with the formidable Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, who occupied the seat from 1952 till the time of his death in 1964.
Nehru’s son-in-law Feroz Gandhi gave him company for most of his years in the Lok Sabha. Gandhi, husband of Nehru’s daughter Indira was an MP from Pratapgarh constituency in Uttar Pradesh from 1952 to 1960.
After a brief absence in Parliament, the Nehru-Gandhi family returned to the Indian legislature with Indira, who was elected to the fourth Lok Sabha in 1967 from the constituency her husband had represented till the time of his death in 1960.
Sanjay Gandhi, the third generation of India’s first family, entered the Parliament in 1977. Touted as a potential prime minister, Sanjay, however died an untimely death in an air crash in 1980.
His death, led his elder brother Rajiv, a reluctant politician, into the political arena. Rajiv was elected to the Lok Sabha in a by-election in 1981 and continued in the legislature till 1991, when he was assassinated.
Maneka, the estranged member of the family, also entered the Parliament in 1989, when she was elected from Pilibhit constituency representing Janata Dal.
Rajiv’s Italy-born wife Sonia, who stayed away from politics for as many as seven years following her husband’s death, was the seventh member from the celebrated clan to enter Parliament in 1999.
She was followed by son Rahul, who was elected from UP’s Amethi seat, for the first time in 2004.
Maneka’s son Varun, the youngest, the latest and the most controversial Gandhi family entrant to Parliament has made his debut in the Lok Sabha with his first victory from Pilibhit constituency in this elections.