Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury today shot himself in the foot when he alleged that the RSS founder K. B. Hegdewar drew his inspiration from the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Chowdhury’s allegations were swiftly and promptly responded back as the erudite BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi launched a scathing and unsparing attack against the Congress party by jogging their memories on Sonia Gandhi’s father’s support for the Italian dictator. Lekhi evoked the shady past of Sonia Gandhi’s father, Stefano Maino and his association with the fascist dictator Mussolini.
“If you are going to allege that Mussolini was Hedgewar’s inspiration then let me remind you, the maternal grandfather of the person(Rahul Gandhi) sitting behind you worked in Mussolini’s army,” Lekhi exclaimed.
Stefano Maino, Rahul Gandhi’s maternal grandfather served as a foot soldier in Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s army. While the mainstream media was successful in effectively obscuring the details of the maternal side of Rahul Gandhi’s family, however, in a rare interview with the Outlook Magazine in 1998, Sonia Gandhi’s father, Stefano Maino, candidly confessed his “unwavering loyalty to Mussolini and Italy’s ‘admirable’ fascist past”. Maino was not only unapologetic about his support for the fascist leader but he was immensely proud of fighting against the Russian Reds alongside Hitler’s Wehrmacht on the Eastern Front in World War II. He was later captured as Prisoner of War and was kept in a Soviet Prison where Sonia Gandhi regularly visited him in Russian cities of Vladimir and Suzdal.
The interviewer also observed that Stefano Maino’s house was festooned with leather-bound speeches and writings of Benito Mussolini, indicating that he was profoundly inspired by the fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, who teamed up with Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler and presided over the unprecedented massacre of innocent people, mostly Jews. Maino also held dim view of the then Italian politicians, saying that “the current Italian government was composed of a bunch of traitors who had betrayed Mussolini and the Fatherland”. Wistfully longing Mussolini rule in Italy, Maino had said that the current crop of Italian politicians was all hopeless except the neo-fascist front. He also advocated authoritarian measures such as forced sterilisation.