What India’s Varun Gandhi can teach Pakistan’s Fatima Bhutto?


Fatima Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto’s estranged niece, has been writing articles and running a constant campaign against her uncle, President Asif Ali Zardari. Her articles have become more bitter with time. She and her stepmother Ghenwa Bhutto have campaigned against Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and her widower without much political gain. They could learn something from the estranged members of the Nehru-Gandhi family in India.

Maneka Gandhi, the widow of Sanjay Gandhi, brother of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, has been hostile to the more politically successful branch of the family for years. Now her son Varun Gandhi has entered politics on the side of his family party’s rival, the BJP. But while Maneka and Varun have found political success for themselves they have not wasted their time and energy on just trying to pull down the Rajiv Gandhi branch of the family –unlike Ghenwa and Fatima.

Maneka served as a Member of Parliament and even became a minister. Now her son Varun has become an MP for the BJP. When Varun showed up for the swearing-in of parliamentarians, he was courteous to his aunt Sonia Gandhi and was extremely civil with his cousin Rahul, who might some day become Prime Minister like his father Rajiv, his grandmother Indira and his great-grandfather Jawaharlal Nehru.

Now, why can’t our Fatima Bhutto follow Varun’s example and enter politics effectively while being civil to her uncle and his family? Instead of just being a spoiler for the Benazir Bhutto family, she could then make some contribution even if it means joining the Pakistan Muslim League that her grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto broke away from to form the more successful social-democratic Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

Here’s the Times of India article, Family Feud Melts for a Bit as Varun, Rahul greet their aunts:

New Delhi (PTI): They may be on opposite sides of the political divide but that did not come in the way of exchanging basic courtsey—exchanging greetings and smile.

BJP MP from Pilibhit Varun Gandhi greeted his aunt and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi with folded hands before taking oath as Lok Sabha member while his cousin and Congress MP from Amethi Rahul Gandhi greeted his aunt Maneka Gandhi on Tuesday.

While the Congress president was visibly happy watching Varun read out his oath in Hindi, Maneka had a broad smile when Rahul took oath in English.

Maneka also thumped the desk as Rahul was sworn in as a member.

Varun became a member for the first time after he won the Pilibhit seat, represented by his mother Maneka earlier, in the elections last month.

As Feroze Varun Gandhi, the name by which he was called to take oath, came forward, he did a ‘namaste’ to his aunt who was seated in the front row of the treasury benches.

Priyanka Gandhi, who was in the Speaker’s Gallery along with husband Robert Vadra, was also seen smiling as the member from Pilibhit took oath.

Rahul also greeted Leader of the Opposition L K Advani and other BJP leaders and extended the same gesture to Maneka, who was seated in the second row of opposition benches, from a distance.

Priyanka and Robert Vadra left the gallery after Varun and Rahul took oath.