NEW DELHI: Lok Sabha MP Varun Gandhi is first the grandson of late Indira Gandhi, only then is he a BJP leader. He has been isolated in the BJP because of being from the Gandhi family. Despite this, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi linking Varun to RSS ideology is surprising.
Varun has neither left BJP nor expressed any wish to join Congress. Nor did he ever contact Rahul Gandhi for this. But Rahul Gandhi made remarks in reply to media queries, which should have been avoided. Rahul Gandhi’s statement is a setback to those seeing the possibility of Varun Gandhi’s entry into Congress. Still, they are hopeful, as they believe that the family’s reunion will strengthen the Congress which is facing turbulent times.
In fact, the speculation about the possibility of Varun Gandhi joining Congress has been in the media only. In fact, a statement given by Varun Gandhi in his constituency Pilibhit last year fuelled the speculation. He had taken a dig at the Hindu-Muslim politics. Rahul Gandhi during a rally in Delhi also referred to the Hindu-Muslim politics being practiced to spread fear, which is what led to speculation in the media about the possibility of Varun Gandhi joining Congress.
Since UP polls, Varun Gandhi has been targeting the central government over price rise, farmers’ issues and unemployment. But, he has been cautious enough not to criticise any BJP leader directly. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his second term, has not accommodated either Varun Gandhi or his mother Maneka Gandhi in his team. Varun Gandhi’s outbursts against the government’s policies are being linked to this as well. Speculation was rife that he would quit BJP. Media started hurling questions at Rahul Gandhi. He downplayed the speculation about Varun Gandhi’s future earlier. But Rahul Gandhi gave an elaborate answer on this issue during a presser in Punjab. That he spoke about the ideology of Varun Gandhi at this point of time is surprising. In fact, a leader changes his ideology once he joins the other party. Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole is an example of this. Patole was with the BJP’s ideology before joining Congress. Varun Gandhi is the member of the family which Rahul belongs to.
Like Rahul Gandhi, Varun Gandhi is also a grandson of Indira Gandhi. Unfortunately, his mother Maneka had to stay away from the family due to some differences four decades ago. Maneka joined BJP for her political future. Varun Gandhi also started his career with BJP as the Congress’s doors were closed for him. Both Rahul Gandhi and Varun Gandhi joined politics in 2004. The three-time MP, Varun Gandhi, has so far never criticised his aunt Sonia Gandhi, cousins Rahul-Priyanka. He did not attack the Congress as well. Rather, his certain comments during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections were seen favouring Rahul Gandhi. Varun Gandhi always maintained the dignity of the family. He was not given a ministerial berth only because of his Gandhi family background. Sangh and BJP do not want to promote the family as well.
Observers believe that Rahul Gandhi’s advisors may have asked to make such remarks on Varun Gandhi. A section of the party is against Varun Gandhi’s entry into the Congress. But the fact is that Varun Gandhi’s entry into Congress would help it strengthen its position in UP and Uttarakhand. As BJP general secretary Varun Gandhi has earlier discharged his duties as in charge of various states. He has tremendous organisational skills. After Amit Shah became president of BJP, a new team came into being. Varun Gandhi remained active in capacity as an MP. He was a strong contender for UP CM post in 2017. But projected Yogi Adityanath. Varun Gandhi held “yuva sammelan” across the country and established his connection with the youth. At that time again, there was speculation about Varun Gandhi exploring options to join Congress. He had sound relations with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. It was said that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra would be instrumental in his joining Congress. But nothing like that happened after the party’s victory in three state elections in 2018. Varun Gandhi registered win in 2019 from Pilibhit again, putting to an end the speculation about his plan to join Congress. He got disappointed after not being accommodated in the cabinet in 2021. PM Modi continues to be a strong leader who will again script victory for BJP in 2024. However, some parties are trying to firm up an alliance to challenge him. Telangana CM KCR has launched a front at the national level with the help of AAP and SP. Mayawati has announced to fight alone. Owaisi’s party is fighting polls in every state. These parties would harm Congress which will be faced with more challenges in 2024. No Congress leaders want to predict anything about the electoral benefits after the Bharat Jodo Yatra. Everybody is silent on the question about whether Congress would be able to do anything substantial under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership in 2024. Congress has a leadership crisis in various states including UP. With this being the situation, Rahul Gandhi should welcome any leader who could be beneficial for the party, regardless of his or her ideology. Varun Gandhi is first the grandson of Indira Gandhi, only then is he a BJP leader. So, why should there be any hitch in welcoming him?