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Bhai vs bhai: The political 'deewaar'

Last updated on: June 06, 2014 13:25 IST

Bhai vs bhai: The political 'deewaar'

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The power attached to politics is potent enough to divide families and turn brothers against each other. While some make the battle bitter and acrimonious, others choose to maintain stoic silence against their opponent.

Two members of the same family may not necessarily share the same ideology, which may lead them to join opposing political parties. How they deal with the competition and relentless public scrutiny is what makes headlines.                

Rediff.com lists a few siblings who chose to chart different political courses. We invite our readers to extend this list, with both historical and contemporary names, in the comments section below. 

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Rahul Gandhi (Congress) and Varun Gandhi (BJP)

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The son of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul entered public life in 2004, contesting on a Congress ticket from his father's old Amethi seat in Uttar Pradesh.   

Rahul Gandhi led the Congress’ campaign in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, which resulted in the party suffering its worst ever performance in elections.

Rahul’s cousin, Varun Gandhi, is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party National Executive and the youngest national secretary in the party's history.

He won the 2014 Lok Sabha election from the Sultanpur constituency.   

Varun and his mother, Meneka Gandhi joined BJP in 2004.

Relations between the two families have been strained ever since former PM Indira Gandhi asked Maneka Gandhi to leave her official residence.

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Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena) and Raj Thackeray (MNS)

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The cousins worked together in the Shiv Sena led by Bal Thackeray until Raj Thackeray quit and founded the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena.

"I wouldn't wish a day such as today even on my worst enemy…All I had asked for was respect (from 'Matoshree', the Bandra residence of Sena chief Bal Thackeray and his son, Uddhav). All I got was insult and humiliation,'' Raj had said while announcing his resignation as a primary member of the Shiv Sena in 2005.

Uddhav took on the role of Shiv Sena Pramukh (chief) after the death of his father and party founder Bal Thackeray in 2012.

The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections was disastrous, while the Shiv Sena-BJP combine delivered its best ever performance in Parliament elections from Maharashtra.

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Manmohan Singh (Congress) Daljeet Singh Kohli (BJP)

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In an embarrassment to the Congress, Manmohan Singh's step-brother Daljeet Singh Kohli joined the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, while the former prime minister was still in office.   

The entry of Kohli, a local businessman, into the BJP came a day after the former prime minister rejected perceptions of a 'Modi wave' in the country.

Narendra Modi had welcomed Kohli into the BJP fold, saying, it would further strengthen the party.

Manmohan Singh's family had expressed shock at the turn of events. "His intentions are not known but he is free to pursue his political career," they said, adding the prime minister and Kohli have not been keeping in touch since long.

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Pawan Kalyan (Jana Sena) and Chiranjeevi (Congress)

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Pawan Kalyan is the younger brother of actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi. During BJP’s election campaign, Kalyan met with the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and extended his full support. He also campaigned extensively for the Telugu Desam Party and BJP combine in Andhra and Telangana. Kalyan ventured into politics by founding a political party called the Jana Sena in March. 

Kalyan chose the BJP in spite of his brother, Chiranjeevi, being a the Minister of State with independent charge for the Ministry of Tourism.

Chiranjeevi had entered politics by forming the Praja Rajyam Party. In February 2011,  Chiranjeevi merged his 30-month-old  party with the Congress.

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Madhavrao Scindia (Congress) and Vasundhara Raje (BJP)

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Madhavrao Scindia was a nine-term member of the Lok Sabha, who never lost an election since 1971. He was killed in a plane crash on the outskirts of Mainpuri district of Uttar Pradesh in September 2001. All eight on board died in the tragic crash.

Madhavrao Scindia first contested the election on a Jan Sangh ticket that his family had long patronised, but switched allegiance to the Congress in 1980.

His sister Vasundhara Raje is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Rajasthan’s first female chief minister. Her son Dushyant Singh was elected to the Lok Sabha from her former constituency Jhalawar.

Raje put on a stellar performance delivering a 100 per cent victory in the state. The Bharatiya Janata Party won all 25 Lok Sabha seats in Rajasthan.

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Jyotiraditya Scindia (Congress) and Dushyant Singh (BJP)

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The son of Madhavrao Scindia, Jyotiraditya was elected to the Lok Sabha from his father’s constituency for the first time in February 2002.

Jyotiraditya Scindia is a member of the Congress party and a former Union minister of state for the ministry of power.

Scindia cousin Dushyant Singh is the son of Vasundhara Raje, the chief minister of Rajasthan. Dushyant Singh won the Jhalawar-Baran seat on a BJP ticket with a landslide margin of 2,81,546 votes.

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Jitendra Singh (BJP) and Devendra Rana (National Conference)

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Jitendra Singh a first time Lok Sabha member from Jammu and Kashmir's Udhampur constituency. The surprise choice for the Prime Minister’s Office got into a controversy on his first day on the job. Singh said the Modi government was open to debate on the merits and demerits of Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir and would make efforts to "convince" the "unconvinced" by holding contact programmes with every section of society in the state.

Jitendra Singh’s brother Devender Singh Rana, is Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's right hand man and a former political advisor to the chief minister.

Devendra is an engineer and his elder brother Jitendra is a doctor.

Commenting on Jitendra Singh’s statement, the National Conference provincial president, Devender Rana, said, “This constitutional proviso had full endorsement of even Shyama Prasad Mukherjee... How can they (BJP) wish away this historical fact while generating passions over the issue.”

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Tathagata Roy (BJP) and Saugata Roy (TMC)

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Tathagata Roy is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party National Executive, the party's central policy making body. He became a Swayamsevak in 1986 after being drawn towards Hindutva.

After quitting his government service, Tathagata joined the BJP in 1990.  

He is the elder brother of All India Trinamool Congress MP and ex-MoS (Urban Development) Saugata Roy.

In a recent interview, Tathagata Roy told Rediff.com that Mamata Banerjee as a state leader was disastrous and has outlived her usefulness by throwing the Communist Party of India-Marxist out.

Saugata Roy is a retired physics professor and a veteran politician from West Bengal. He was elected to the 16th Lok Sabha from the Dum Dum constituency.

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Derek O'Brien's (TMC) and Barry O'Brien (BJP)

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Well-known as a quizmaster, Derek O’Brien joined the Trinamool Congress in 2004. He was sworn in as Member of Parliament on August 19, 2011.

The vice-president of All India Trinamool Congress  was in 2009 was made the head of the Passenger Services Committee of the Indian Railways, under Railway and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee.

Barry, the brother of Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Derek O'Brien, on June 4 joined the West Bengal Bharatiya Janata Party along with his wife.

Barry was a nominated member of the West Bengal Assembly representing the Anglo-Indian community between 2006-11 during the Left Front regime.

“BJP is a party of action, not merely words. We have not come here for any position,” Barry said.

“We are inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has already created a SIT to bring back black money stashed in foreign banks. We believe in his time-bound dedicated work initiatives,” Barry told reporters.

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Namo Narain Meena (Congress) and Harish Chandra Meena (BJP)

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A former minister of state for finance Namo Narain Meena is a member of the Congress party while his brother, former IPS officers Harish Chandra Meena, fought the 2014 Lok Sabha election on a BJP ticket.

Though the brothers were fighting the elections against each other, they avoided getting personal during their campaigns in Dausa.

Namo Narain Meena was born from the first wife of Srinarayan Meena who was sarpanch of Bamanwas village, while four other siblings Bhawani Singh Meena, Harish Chandra Meena, OP Meena and Dharm Singh Meena were born from his second wife.

Interestingly, Harish Chandra Meena, who was removed as DGP by Chief Election Commissioner following complaints by the BJP during assembly elections, was given a BJP ticket from Dausa. The Congress announced Namo Narain's name soon after.




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