ibnlive » Politics

Jun 02, 2009 at 03:26pm IST

All in the family: Four Gandhis in Parliament

New Delhi: For the first time in India's Parliament there are four Gandhis in the lower house. However, they represent both sides of the political divide.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and son Rahul Gandhi are on the treasury benches.

Sonia's sister-in-law Maneka Gandhi and Rahul's cousin Feroze Varun Gandhi are taking their place in the opposition.

"The earstwile Congress party was an umbrella organisation that accommodated people of all political persuasions, and what you will see in the 15th Lok Sabha is a reflection of that," said senior journalist Dilip Padgaonkar.

The family often known as India's camelot, because of its fair share of tragedies, jealousies and rivalries debuted in parliament in 1952 with Jawaharlal Nehru.

Ever since, barring a brief seven year spell, someone has represented the family in the lower house. However, in the 15th Lok Sabha there are two rival daughters-in-law, sitting in two ends of the house will have their respective sons for company.

"Rahul and Varun are both projections of their mothers' ambitions," said historian Ranchandra Guha.

So as Varun, the youngest and the most controversial Gandhi makes his debut, and Rahul the older cousin sets about proving his prime ministerial mettle. It's really Priyanka's entry into Parliament that would make it the perfect score for the Gandhis.