The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dynasty drama at Indira memorial

New Delhi, Oct. 31: The “forgotten scion” of the Dynasty has pushed his way back into the limelight on the death anniversary of Indira Gandhi at her final resting place.

Feroze Varun Gandhi, the son of Sanjay and Maneka Gandhi, claimed today that Delhi police prevented him from entering Shakti Sthal, Indira Gandhi’s samadhi.

Varun sent a bitter letter of protest to the Delhi government, ruled by the Congress which is headed by his aunt Sonia Gandhi, saying “political vendettas must not be mixed up with family occasions and points sought to be scored in this petty and unbecoming fashion”.

Varun said he was seeking an apology from the Delhi government as it was the official host of the memorial service. A “surprised” Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit rejected the demand, saying her government has no say in law and order.

Delhi police report to the Union government, where Varun’s mother was a minister. Despite a chill in ties, Maneka voted for the BJP-led Centre in the Congress-sponsored no-confidence motion this August.

Maneka, whose frosty relationship with sister-in-law Sonia is well documented, was not at the memorial to witness the unseemly family drama. Sonia was there, but “she was not privy to the incident”, a party leader said. A Congress leader went to the extent of suggesting that the rumpus was Varun’s announcement that he has “come of age for a political role”.

“In spite of having passes for myself and a group of people, we were harassed and physically prevented from entering,” Varun said. “It may be a political occasion but for the family involved, it remains a personal one.”

Delhi police challenged Varun’s version. A spokesperson said Varun arrived with 70 to 80 supporters and wanted to enter through a gate reserved for the Vice-President and Sonia.

Varun was eventually allowed to enter with nine others. Inside, he was asked to leave his associates in the seating section so that he could proceed to a special enclosure, though he did not have a pass, the spokesperson said. Varun refused and left.

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