As someone suggested the other day the most difficult thing in life is not to change the society but to change oneself. Feroz Varun Gandhi – may have been nothing but a relatively unknown, up and coming politician till the other day – but today he is one of the hottest subjects of political debate both in the ruling and opposition parties.
Expressing shock at the manner in which this upstart politician with negligible support among the masses tried to conduct himself in the very first electoral speeches, political pundits say it was quite natural for Varun Gandhi the progeny of Sanjay and Maneka Gandhi- both known for their brash and and head strong ways- to grow up to be the angry young man of Indian politics. No wonder people in Pilibhit, his maiden political constituency have started already started saying, “Varun nahin andhi hai, yeh doosra Sanjay Gandhi hai”.
Rashtriya Janata Dal Chief and Union Railways Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav even went to the extent of saying, “If I had been the Home Minister, I would have put Varun Gandhi behind bars”. Echoing similar sentiments Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that “there was no place for people like Varun in today’s political scene”. Even cousin Priayanka Gandhi for that matter was of the opinion that Varun had brought a bad name to the family traditions and that he should read the Gita again.
But the moot questions that everyone seems to be asking are– why does Varun Gandhi behave the way he does? What makes him so angry? Is what he has been saying-actually the way he thinks or in keeping with party’s hindutav agenda? Or is he actually a poor, helpless, misunderstood and misquoted victim of a vicious political conspiracy to pull him down, embarrass his party and indirectly malign the Nehru-Gandhi family.
Surprisingly this is something that is not so simple to understand as even within the BJP there aren’t many who support Varun Gandhi as far as his latest gimmicks are concerned. One of the party office bearers even went to the extent of saying that Varun Gandhi’s virulent ranting against the muslims was not in keeping with the BJP’s nationalistic ideology and all this was a direct consequence of Varun Gandhi’s inheritance of the Gandhi label. BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was quoted as saying that Varuns ‘imfamous’ speech is actually a “manifestation of the Congress culture” and against the BJP’s traditional ethos”. “Even though he might have joined the BJP, like other members of the Nehru-Gandhi family, he continues to think that India is his own property and hence feels that he is justified in telling anyone else of go to Pakistan” said a muslim community leader.
Seasoned political pundits are also of the opinion that Feroze Varun Gandhi’s greatest misfortunes in life can be traced to his birth in the Nehru-Gandhi clan. His great-great-grandfather Motilal Nehru was a distinguished leader of the Indian independence movement while his great-grandfather, Jawaharlal Nehru, was the first Prime Minister of India. He was 3-months when his father Sanjay Gandhi died in a plane crash. Soon there after his widowed mother dramatically moved out of the Prime Minister’s residence on a wintry night holding him in her lap. And within a year from that date his grandmother, Indira Gandhi, was assassinated by her security guards.
It is common knowledge that Indira Gandhi wanted Sanjay to succeed her and was in the process of grooming him – but for his unimely died. After his death, everything changed so suddenly that reluctant airline pilot Rajiv Gandhi and later his widow Sonia Gandhi had to be saddled with the responsibility of carrying on the family legacy. Obviously being the children of Rajiv and Sonia-Rahul and Priyanka too got their due share of limelight, while Varun and his mother Maneka watched from the spectator’s gallery. So, though technically a Gandhi– Feroze Varun Gandhi – for most part of his life remained the odd man out or the odd and “unwanted” Gandhi of the lot. The fact that Varun is the first and only graduate from the Nehru-Gandhi family after Nehru did not help matters either.
However according to seasoned political observers one of the most important reasons why Varun Gandhi is already behaving like a full gown big time politician even before he has even won his first elections is because of the influence of his mother Maneka Gandhi. Like any other concerned and possessive mother – Maneka has not only brought up Varun as a single parent but even went to the extent of vacating the ‘five time lucky and safe’ Pilibhit seat for the sake her son Varun.
“She was always a very ambitious lady… If only Sanjay had lived, she might have been the No 1 lady in Indian politics today instead of her sister in law, Sonia Gandhi– but Sanjay’s untimely death snatched all her dreams. After her quarrel with Indira Gandhi she not only got thrown out of the PM’s house but also lost her prominence in the political circuit…” said a veteran political observer.
According to him, after having failed to fulfill her own ambitions Maneka obviously waited for Varun to grow up before preparing to strike again. “Maybe it was all a culmination of her high expectations and ambitions – to catapult Varun into big league political hierarchy – where he could at least be at par with Rahul and Priayanka-that made Varun half-baked politician Varun Gandhi to blurt out wrong things in the wrong manner and the wrong time.
Meanwhile the impact of all this is that Varun Gandhi has been trapped in a very delicate situation whereas on one side even though he is a Gandhi-no one is prepared to accept him and within the family he remains an unwanted Gandhi while the BJP too is neither in a position to either openly accept him as their own Gandhi or shun him to political asylum as the election commission may have desired. So caught between the devil and the deep sea Varun Gandhi remains the angry young man that fate has destined him to be.