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Parliament to host four Gandhis for the first time

Last updated on: May 17, 2009 01:53 IST

It would be a record of sorts for the country's illustrious Nehru-Gandhi family when four of its members would be simultaneously occupying seats in the Lok Sabha, though in rival camps. The 15th Lok Sabha will witness two mother-son duos of India's first political family representing the two main political parties.

While Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul will be part of the ruling coalition, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Maneka Gandhi and her son Varun, the saffron party's latest firebrand discovery, will be seated on the Opposition benches. This will be the first time four members of the family, albeit from its two estranged factions, will simultaneously be in the Lok Sabha.

The family debuted in parliament's lower house with the Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, who occupied the seat from 1952 till the time of his death in 1964. Nehru's son-in-law Feroz Gandhi gave him company for most of his years in the Lok Sabha. Gandhi, husband of Nehru's daughter Indira, was a Member of Parliament from Pratapgarh constituency in Uttar Pradesh between 1952 and 1960.

After a brief absence in the Parliament, the Nehru-Gandhi family returned to the Indian legislature with Indira, who was elected to the fourth Lok Sabha in 1967 from the constituency her husband had represented till the time of his death in 1960. Sanjay Gandhi, the third generation of India's first family, entered the Parliament in 1977.

Touted as a potential prime minister, Sanjay, however, died an untimely death in an air crash. His death led his younger brother Rajiv, a reluctant politician, into the political arena. Rajiv was elected to the Lok Sabha in a by-election in 1981 and continued in the legislature till 1991, when he was assassinated.

Maneka, the estranged member of the family, also entered the Parliament in 1989, as a Janata Dal member from Pilibhit constituency.

Rajiv's wife Sonia, who stayed away from politics for years after her husband's death, was the seventh member from the celebrated clan to enter the Parliament in 1999.

She was followed by son Rahul, now a potential future prime minister, who was elected from Amethi for the first time in 2004.

Maneka's son Varun, the youngest and the most controversial Gandhi family entrant to the Parliament, has made his debut in the 15th Lok Sabha with his first victory from Pilibhit constituency.

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