Priyanka to Varun: This is no tea party, it’s war...


The “Gandhi versus Gandhi” war is escalating and the two estranged grandchildren of the late Indira Gandhi — Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Varun Gandhi — appear to be in an unrelenting mood.
BJP MP Varun Gandhi reacted on Tuesday in a rather dignified and graceful manner to his cousin Priyanka’s remark that he had gone “astray”. Addressing a meeting
after filing his Lok Sabha nomination papers in Sultanpur constituency on Tuesday, Varun said: “I have never crossed the ‘lakshman rekha’ of decency, whether it is my family or any senior member of any political party, in my speeches. I have always maintained decency and generosity in public life, but this should not be seen as my weakness. It is my request to all that instead of personal attacks, we should debate on unemployment, corruption, poverty and illiteracy.”
He then added: “If India has to move towards the politics of hope, we will have to raise the level of debate. There has been talk of my straying from my path, but I have always considered the nation’s path more important than my own path. When we practice politics centered on personal criticism, we deviate from the crucial issues of our times.”
Minutes after Varun delivered his speech, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit back at him in Amethi, saying: “This is not a family tea party... it is an ideological war.” She then added: “Anybody... no matter how close they are, even blood relations... if they are going to be on that side of the ideological spectrum, then these are my beliefs. I feel it is a betrayal of my family.”
Priyanka, obviously referring to her cousin’s alleged hate speech in the 2009 polls, said: “His views about certain things in the last election could not be overlooked... even if it were my own child. I strongly disagree with his views. It is a betrayal of my family. My father died for the unity of this country, and I cannot disrespect that.”
Varun Gandhi has been acquitted of charges of spreading communal hatred by a local court in Uttar Pradesh.
The “Gandhi versus Gandhi” warfare began on Saturday when Priyanka, addressing a meeting of party workers, said Varun was a “Gandhi who had lost his way”. Though Varun did not initially react to her comment, his mother Maneka Gandhi said the nation would decide who “had gone astray”.
On Tuesday Priyanka clarified that she has no regret over this weekend’s leak of a video in which she was seen criticising Varun for having gone astray. She added that she had not spoken to Varun after her statement over the weekend.
This is the first time that the war between the two Gandhi families is being fought in the public domain, and that too in the midst of a general election.

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