by Vinod Mehta
As India is weeks behind the next Lok Sabha election scheduled to take place between April 7-May 7, 2014 some critics of Italian born leader of Indian National Congress, Sonia Gandhi are raising question about her real religious identity. Sonia, a Catholic at birth married Rajiv Gandhi, grandson of Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru many years back and her friends in Italy claims that years after her marriage, Sonia Gandhi was attending church and were following religious rituals. Such controversy has arrived at a time when the Indian National Congress is predicted a huge defeat in the upcoming election. The critics say, Jawaharlal Nehru was more a secular and non practicing Hindu and that is why he did not bother when his only daughter Indira decided to marry Feroze Gandhi, who by religious beliefs was an Agnostic. Feroze Gandhi never changed his religion after marriage.
Similarly when Nehru’s grandson and Indira’s son Rajiv Gandhi fell in love with Sonia and decided to marry, he never bothered about Sonia’s remaining a Catholic while marrying a Hindu. The first marriage took place in Italy under local law while the couple maintained their religious status unchanged. Some even say Sonia was able in convincing her husband about changing his own religion and Rajiv Gandhi would have converted if he was not put in a sudden situation of entering politics. Similarly both of Sonia Gandhi’s children, Priyanka and Rahul are much inclined towards Christianity than Hinduism. At home, they even privately practice rituals and celebrate Christian festivals such as Easter, Christmas etc. Both of them refrain from following Hindu religious rituals while at home.
While Sonia Gandhi’s Indian National Congress is contesting a Hindu nationalist leader like Narendra Modi, political analysts believe the religious status controversy of both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi may cause extensive damage to both, although Bharatiya Janata Party’s and Narendra Modi’s landslide victory is well anticipated by every opinion poll.
Disclaimer: Opinion expressed in this article are solely of the author.