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Not Difficult to Enter Politics, But I Want to Earn My Place: Robert Vadra

Pallavi Ghosh | CNN-News18 pallavighcnnibn

Updated: April 18, 2017, 5:12 PM IST
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Not Difficult to Enter Politics, But I Want to Earn My Place: Robert Vadra
Robert Vadra celebrated his birthday outside his office in Sukhdev Vihar with Congress workers and locals. (Image: Sunil Sagar)

New Delhi: Robert Vadra is undergoing an image makeover fueling speculation that he could be preparing ground for his entry into active politics. Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law and Priyanka Gandhi’s husband has, of late, been spending time with the underprivileged sections of the society and putting up photos and videos of such moments on social media.

Quite contrary to his popular image of being a businessman who doesn’t mind flaunting his wealth or his fascination with fitness regimens, Vadra these days is more seen feeding the poor outside AIIMS hospital and Hanuman Mandir in Delhi. In another post, he is cutting a cake with visually impaired children.

“A special day is not special until you do something new or different that makes others happy. Too old to cut cakes, but I always enjoy... with the children who need our love. They can’t see, but their other senses are so strong... their reactions and smiles... feels all so worth of it,” Vadra wrote recently.

A scroll through Vadra’s Facebook or Twitter page reveals that he has been putting across his point of view on all important, and often controversial, issues.

On a Pakistani army court awarding death sentence to Kulbhushan Jadhav, Vadra wrote, “Five Indians before Jadhav were arrested by Pakistan on charges of spying and they died, awaiting justice in Pakistani jails, according to media reports. In retaliation, our government has decided to not send back 12 Pakistani prisoners. Is that all we can do for the Indians held by Pakistan? For the sake of entire nation, the government should take every step to save Jadhav’s life.”

He had an opinion to share on the recent spate of racist attacks on Nigerian students in Greater Noida, Tarun Vijay’s racist remark on South Indians, and on the debate around liquor ban.

So what’s cooking? News18 asked Vadra himself if he is about to take the plunge. Interestingly, he didn’t shy away from the query.

“If you read comments on most of my writings, people ask me to join politics,” Vadra said, adding, “They say ‘we need you’, ‘you should join politics’, etc.”

Vadra said if he had wanted, it would not have been ‘very difficult’ for him to enter politics in the last 20 years.

So does Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law now want to enter politics? And if yes, when?

“I will work for it and the people. And only when the people feel I can make a change, would I join politics. Not for any other reason, no matter how easy. I have to earn it myself,” he said.

On whether Priyanka should join politics, Vadra has consistently said that “it’s her choice”.

According to sources within Congress, Vadra is already part of the close group which advises Gandhis on issues like tying up with Akhilesh Yadav for Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls.

Working behind the scene is one thing, but it won’t be easy for Vadra to become a public face of the Congress. Time and again, he has been accused of financial irregularities in business deals, and is facing multiple investigations.

Even the Congress has been inconsistent in its approach towards Vadra. From defending him after every accusation to calling him a private businessman and backtracking, the party has always found it difficult to deal with him. Finally, Sonia Gandhi had to publicly challenge the BJP to initiate legal proceedings against Vadra.

There’s no denying that the cases against him provide an easy ammunition to the BJP to target the Gandhi family. Some Congressmen also fear that if Priyanka Gandhi was to play an active role in politics or contest an election, the BJP would be quick to rake up the cases and probes against Vadra.

And then there are those who feel the time has come to face the BJP head on. “How long can we live in fear? We might as well have Vadra joining politics,” said a Congress leader who didn’t want to be named. He said active politics will provide Vadra with a better chance to counter the cases against him as ‘political witch hunting’.

Vadra had participated in the Congress campaign in Amethi during the last Lok Sabha polls and has never said no to politics. The question is if his social media philanthropy is an attempt to “earn himself” a bigger role.

When asked if Vadra can work for the beleaguered Congress, political analyst Rasheed Kidwai said, “Vadra joining politics makes sense if Priyanka Gandhi also joins. Together, they would give Congressmen a reason to struggle and provide a protective ring... Alone, he would face more criticism and ridicule.”

Maybe that’s what the Congress is working on.

First Published: April 18, 2017, 3:33 PM IST
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