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Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi. Photo: HT
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi. Photo: HT

Priyanka accuses Varun of betraying Gandhi family

War of words escalates between the cousins as Varun accuses Priyanka of 'crossing limits of decency'

Amethi/Sultanpur: In sharp escalation of their war of words, Priyanka Gandhi fired yet another salvo at Varun Gandhi saying the Lok Sabha elections is “an ideological war" and that his actions amounted to “betrayal" of the family.

The exchange between the two cousins occurred early on Tuesday morning from across nearby towns in the midst of electioneering as Varun filed his nomination from Sultanpur Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh. Varun hit back at Priyanka accusing her of “crossing the limits of decency."

“This is not a family tea party. It is an ideological war. I believe anybody, no matter how close they are, own blood relations...if they are going to be on that side of the ideological divide," said Priyanka.

“He had expressed his views in the last elections and I do not agree with them at all. I strongly disagree with them. It is a betrayal of my family. My father died for the unity of this country. I cannot disregard it for anybody even if it is my own child," she told reporters in Amethi, where she was campaigning for her brother Rahul Gandhi.

Priyanka was apparently referring to the controversy Varun had created in the last elections when he addressed an election rally in Pilibhit constituency which was widely denounced as a hate speech.

A couple of days earlier she had remarked that Varun had gone “astray" and should be shown the right path. Varun also gave back in some measure to Priyanka suggesting that she crossed the “lakshman rekha of decency" and noted that his “decency and large-heartedness" should not be construed as a weakness.

Breaking his silence over cousin Priyanka’s remark that he has gone “astray", Varun said nobody can raise one’s stature by belittling somebody.

Varun, who filed his nomination from Sultanpur after holding a massive road show in the region, also chose the occasion to hail the leadership of Narendra Modi after remaining silent over him for over a month during his campaign in his new parliamentary constituency bordering Amethi and Rae Bareli—the Nehru-Gandhi family pocket borough.

Varun, who is also general secretary of the saffron party, repeatedly invoked his father Sanjay Gandhi’s name while addressing a public meeting in the city drawing cheers from the crowd.

Talking of his commitment to the politics of decency and decorum, Varun claimed that he never crossed the “lakshman rekha of decency" against his family members or senior leaders of Opposition parties.

Gandhi, an Member of Parliament (MP) from Pilibhit, switched to Sultanpur this time and is considered to be in a strong position. Rahul Gandhi, who represents Amethi held a roadshow in 16km area of Sultanpur when he filed his nomination from Amethi on 12 April. The same day, Priyanka addressing a gathering of party workers from Sultanpur criticised Varun for BJP links.

“He is definitely from my family, he is my brother .But he has gone astray. When a young one in the family chooses the wrong path, then elders show them the right path, the right way. I urge all of you to show my brother the right path," she had said.

Her comments had invited immediate response from Varun’s mother Maneka Gandhi who said if he has gone astray while serving the country, then the country will decide.

Alluding to the spat, Varun said: “These days, lot of things have come up.I just want to tell this much that nobody should treat my decency and large-heartedness as weakness...there have been a talk about my path.I am a simple youth."

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