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'As Feroze Gandhi's grandson, Rahul should project himself as a Gujarati'

April 19, 2012 14:33 IST
As the Congress party is all set to kickstart its campaign for the Gujarat assembly election due later this year, Achyut Yagnik, renowned writer and critic, told, "The Congress should take advantage of the Gandhi family's undeniable link to Gujarat. Rahul Gandhi is a Gujarati!"

Yagnik, co-author of The Shaping of Modern Gujarat: Plurality, Hindutva and Beyond, says, "I am surprised to read that Rahul claims that he is a Brahmin. His grandfather (Feroze Gandhi, husband of former prime minister Indira Gandhi) hails from Gujarat and Parsis are Gujaratis."

Recently, a report (external link) of The Times of India had claimed, 'Matters came to an interesting point during a recent review meeting when the upper caste/Brahmin argument invoked by a local Uttar Pradesh leader saw Congress leader Rahul Gandhi rebutting the claim by remarking 'I am a Brahmin... and general secretary in the party'.

Yagnik said, "This is very confusing. Being a grandson of Feroze Gandhi, a Parsi, Rahul can certainly project himself as a Gujarati."

Yagnik added, "Earlier, in the 'seventies, Prime Minister Mrs Gandhi announced in an election meeting in Gujarat that she was a bahu (daughter-in-law) of Gujarat and had received applause."  

In view of Chief Minister Narendra Modi's game-plan for the coming elections, Yagnik says, "In the light of the defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the recent by-election in Mansa, close to Gandhinagar, I fail to understand why the Congress is not using the opportunity to revive in the state?"

Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi