New Delhi: The Congress Presidential election leading to Rahul Gandhi’s coronation led to a bitter split in public between two brothers, Tehseen and Shehzad Poonawalla, however, such family feuds over politics is nothing new among Indian politicians.
The Poonawalla brothers, both known faces in Congress, split five days ago with Tehseen Poonawalla disowning his brother Shehzad on Twitter for claiming Rahul Gandhi's nomination in the party's presidential elections to be rigged.
“The upcoming Congress president election is a selection and not an election. It's a sham election process... I have got info that the delegates who are going to vote for the party president elections are fixed, it’s rigged (sic),” Shehzad had said in a tweet on November 29.
Tehseen retorted: “It is totally unacceptable to me and my family that Shehzad has dragged Mrs Gandhi into this, he should have presented whatever issues he had in the party forum.” He added that he could not understand why his brother went public with the thoughts without discussing it with the family first.
The fallout between Tehseen and Shehzad Poonawalla reminds us of how close relatives have often worked for different political parties going against each other's interests.
Sadhu Yadav, brother-in-law of Lalu Prasad, hopped from RJD to Congress only to form his own party later — Garib Janata Dal.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and senior Congress leader, had an ugly exchange with his brother Ghulam Ali Azad, who had joined the BJP. Going against his brother, the latter went on to bat for the BJP in the Ayodhy Ram Mandir dispute and appealed for a temple to be built on the disputed site.
However, not all brothers go through ugly feuds to work for different political parties. Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh and his brother Lakshman Singh have represented Congress and BJP, respectively, for quite some time and they continue to maintain cordial relations in private.
Lakshman Singh, former MP and member of Madhya Pradesh legislative assembly, like his brother Digvijay started his career with the Congress. After being elected to the Parliament on a Congress ticket a few times, Lakshman decided to switch sides to the BJP and became its state leader.
Much to their convenience, at any given point in time, one of the two brothers is necessarily a member of the ruling party.
A similar relationship in national-level politics is seen between Congress’ Rajiv Shukla and BJP’s Ravi Shankar Prasad. Shukla happens to be Prasad's brother-in-law and both of them have, while maintaining their responsibilities in their own parties, never been involved in a public spat with each other.
There are familial ties too between Shiromani Akali Dal President Simranjit Singh Mann, who is married to Congress leader Amarinder Singh's sister-in-law, between brothers Saugata Roy who is a leader of Trinamool Congress and the Governor of Tripura and former BJP leader Tathagata Roy. Yashodhara Raje Scindia, a BJP minister in the MP government, also enjoys an amiable relation with Congress’ youth leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.