India’s latest Gandhi faces tough, promising political future

A little twist to the usual posts here, perhaps because it’s just been a politically heavy weekend for me. But still focused on India.

Rahul Gandhi is being called the “latest” Gandhi on India’s political stage, an up-and-coming 41-year-old with some serious heritage on his side: the eldest son of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President of the Indian National Congress Sonia Gandhi. He also is the great-grandson of India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlar Nehru, as well as the grandson of Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi. (Nope, the lineage doesn’t go back to the Gandhi.)

Rahul Gandhi, via

The Los Angeles Times has a piece on Gandhi today:

Reporting from Amethi, India—

Priyanshi Srivastava, a second-year student at the Footwear Development Design Institute here in Amethi, was quite taken with lawmaker Rahul Gandhi during his recent visit to the institute that he helped start.

“I never expected he’d have such a deep knowledge about leather goods,” Srivastava said of the scion of India’s most famous political family.

“And I never thought he’d be so damned handsome.”

As campaigning for legislative assembly seats in the north-central state of Uttar Pradesh kicked off last week, Gandhi may hope other voters in India’s most populous state have the same reaction. This is no ordinary state and no ordinary contest for Gandhi, 41, the nation’s reputed prince-in-waiting whose father, grandmother and great-grandfather were all prime ministers.

The key to things is this:

Although Gandhi has held a national position with the ruling Congress Party in New Delhi since 2004 and is not facing any reelection test in the state polling, the spotlight is on him during this election to see how effective he is in boosting his party’s showing in Uttar Pradesh. His performance now is seen as having a large influence on his chances of becoming prime minister one day.

The state has changed since the days when the Gandhis and the Congress Party expected to control Uttar Pradesh as a matter of right. As regional parties gained strength by the late 1980s and caste politics intensified, Congress lost its four-decade grip on the state, and it has never regained it. The party now finds itself in a vicious fight with the state’s governing party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, led by the colorful Mayawati, who used her status as a dalit, a caste once known as “untouchables,” to great political effect.

Ah, politics are the same everywhere, in other words.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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