“Does UP need to adopt an outsider? Does UP not have youth who are capable of developing it?” This was the question Mrs. Priyanka Vadra put during an election rally at Maharajganj in her mother’s parliamentary constituency of Rae Bareili on February 17. She was joining issue with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi who in an election rally at Lucknow had a day before said: “UP has adopted me…and it is my duty to work for you (UP)”. Hailing her brother Rahul and Akhilesh Yadav as “the true sons of the soil” she added, “They have UP in their hearts and lives. UP does not need an outsider. The youth here is capable of developing UP”.
Similar sentiments were echoes by her brother and Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi and UP’s Samajwadi Party Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.
The words of these leaders, in a way, amount to reincarnation of the “son of the soil” doctrine enunciated by the Shiv Sena supremo, the late Bal Thackeray— a doctrine that was derided and totally rejected by most of the political parties and leaders including Congress right from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru down to Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi. And it is this doctrine that the Congress Party and Akhilesh’s Samajwadi Party are deadly opposed to in Maharashtra and elsewhere.
Our Constitution forbids discrimination on grounds of caste, creed, sex, and region. In one voice our political parties had been decrying it alleging that this doctrine is detrimental to the emotional unity of the country and it would lead to dividing the people of the country. The Congress, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (United), left parties as also BJP and others had been opposing it tooth and nail. Even the Supreme Court of India has decried this concept.
All Indians are one and equal in any part of the country. A native of UP or Bihar, North-east States and Jammu Kashmir is as much a good citizen of the country in other parts as is the vice-versa in his own State. A person having been born in any part of the country can enroll himself as a voter in any State and contest election to a State assembly.
Own Shiv Sena plant
So what do the utterings of Rahul, Priyanka and Akhilesh amount to — an adoption in UP of the ‘sons of the soil’ theory propounded by the likes of late Bal Thackeray, his Shiv Sena and MNS leader Raj Thackeray?
But how are the likes of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra herself in Priyanka’s own words “the true sons of the soil”?
None of them was born on the “soil” of UP. Mrs. Sonia Gandhi was born as Edvige Antonia Albina Màino in Italy, bred and brought up there. She chose to be an Indian national only after more than a decade of her marriage to Rajiv Gandhi.
Similarly, both Rahul and Priyanka had their birth and bringing up as also education in Delhi. Rahul did go to Doon School, Dehradun (then in UP). That makes him as much a “son of the (UP) soil” as any student who studied there. Even their father, grandmother Indira Gandhi were born and grew up in Delhi. Their grandfather, Firoze Gandhi had his birth in Bombay (now Mumbai).
Their only claim to the UP “soil” is that their father, grandmother and great grandfather represented constituencies like Amethi, Rae Bareli and Phulpur in Lok Sabha. But a parliamentary constituency is not — and can never be — the immovable property of their ancestors to be inherited by legal successors.
This boils down to the fact that they are nothing more than electoral tourists who visit UP during elections and retire to their homes in Delhi. Union Minister Smriti Irani contested against Rahul Gandhi from Amethi parliamentary constituency and lost. Yet, she has visited Amethi constituency more often than the one whom people have elected.
Priyanka and Rahul’s tirade against “outsiders” and stress on “son of the soil” doctrine not only negates their party’s own stand on the issue but also slights their mother contesting and winning Bellary in Karnataka in 1999 as also their grandmother Mrs. Indira Gandhi contesting and winning from Chikmaglur and Medak in Karnataka for Lok Sabha. Neither their mother nor their grandmother was the daughter of Karnataka “soil”.
by Amba Charan Vashishth