Former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi's decision to file his nomination papers for the post of the vice president of India has drawn severe criticism from his nephew and Mahatma Gandhi's great-grandson Shrikrishna Kulkarni, who has lashed out at his uncle in a strongly-worded letter that has also been shared on social media.
In a letter to the vice-presidential candidate, Kulkarni criticised Gandhi for having offered his candidature to a side which has "re-institutionalized dynastic succession and has systematically eroded the political landscape of India." He added that the "the other part of me – the 'citizen common man', is once again dismayed by your choice of whom you offered your candidature to."
Kulkarni said that by offering his candidature to the 18 Opposition parties, one of whom happens to be the Congress party, Gandhi "tore apart the principles you espouse – those of Mahatma Gandhi or Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, both of who were fearless and selfless leaders and who were dead against entitlements of birth."
In his letter slamming dynasty politics and "entitlements of birth", Kulkarni said: "The present day Gandhi family, as the progeny of Nehru are popularly known (in the media) to have re-institutionalized dynastic succession. Their advent has systematically eroded the political landscape of India – the soul of India was slowly being ripped out. The present president of the Congress Party has been in position for 18 years since 1998. Her son (5th generation of Nehru dynasty, starting from Motilal Nehru) is in line for succession."
He added: "And of all the people in this nation, you choose to offer yourself to be their candidate? I saw with dismay the TV images of you, going to file your nomination for the vice president – flanked by this family of dynastic politics... This family doesn't deserve to be linked with anything to do with Gandhiji or his principles."
Kulkarni also said that Mahatma Gandhi made a mistake when "he brushed aside the candidature of Sadar Patel for the first prime minister of India and bequeathed... the new born nation to Pandit Nehru. That one mistake has cost the nation dearly. The progeny of Pandit Nehru have made a mockery of all that Gandhiji stood for in his living life. Even the fiercest critics of Gandhiji will not deny that Gandhiji opposed entitlements due to birth. Generations of his family (we) are a testimony to this core belief."
Describing Gandhi's comment about "a whole force which is dividing the country is in action mode" as ambiguous, Kulkarni said: "There is no point protecting a nation, if we cannot protect our values and our culture. You have chosen to be a nominee of those who have divided us as a rule. Why? The Congress (I) can easily articulate what they mean to the "minorities". I wonder if they have a clue of what they mean to the "majority?""
Kulkarni also questioned the former West Bengal governor's silence on the scandals that took place in the country during the Congress regime. He wrote: "So many scandals over so many years, and not a single comment from you. Do you really believe all these are political vendetta? Do you really believe the citizens are fools? But you still went ahead and have endorsed them."
Registering his protest against gandhi's candidature for the Vice-President's post, Kulkarni said: "As one small member of Gandhiji's large family, I must register my protest. And therefore I say – NOT IN GANDHIJIS NAME!" He added that Gandhi's decision "doesn't build confidence" in him rather "it is confidence betrayal."
Gandhi, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, was chosen as the Opposition's vice presidential candidate on July 11. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Congress party and the other major Opposition parties at the Parliament Library building in New Delhi.
The Opposition parties had unanimously decided to appeal to Gandhi to be their candidate for the post of the vice-president of India. "Eighteen parties have decided to field Gopal Krishna Gandhi as their vice-presidential candidate," Congress president Sonia Gandhi had said.
Read the full letter here