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Congress pays tribute to Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, ‘first Indian woman to hold a cabinet post in pre-Independent India’, netizens point out brazen nepotism

Since India's independence on 15th August 1947, the Nehru-Gandhi family members amongst themselves have been Prime Ministers of independent India for 38 years. That is more half the time India has been independent of British rule.

On the occasion of the 120th birth anniversary of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, an Indian diplomat and politician, who was elected as the first female President of the United Nations General Assembly, the Congress party paid tribute to her, hailing her as the first Indian woman to hold a cabinet post in pre-Independent India.

“The first Indian woman to hold a cabinet post in pre-Independent India, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit went on to become a member of the Constituent Assembly. Today, we pay tribute to her for upholding Indian aspirations on the international stage as the first female President of UNGA,” the official Twitter handle of Congress tweeted, paying homage to the former diplomat and politician.

While Congress commemorated the birth anniversary of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit by remembering her as the first Indian woman to hold a cabinet position in the pre-Independent India, social media users were particularly merciless in reminding Congress that Vijay Lakshmi Pandit was the daughter of Motilal Nehru and sister of India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and her achievement as pre-independent India’s first woman to be incorporated into the cabinet could be the first instance of brazen nepotism in India.

Terming it as ‘nepotism 1.0’, a Twitter user alleged that India’s first prime minister Jawharlal Nehru made his sister as cabinet minister.

Several Twitter users also highlighted how culture of nepotism in Congress has predated India’s independence.

Another Twitter user took a sarcastic dig at the prevalent nepotism in the Congress party, saying Jawaharlal Nehru should have appointed his sister Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit’s daughter, sister-in-law and other family relatives in the government jobs as well. In a sharp remark against nepotism, the Twitter user likened dynasties to termites that eat countries from within.

The culture of nepotism central to Congress’ identity

It is worth noting that the Gandhi-Nehru family played a dominant role in shaping the political landscape in India in the last several decades. Treating the Congress party as its fiefdom, the Gandhi-Nehru clan is accused of fostering and perpetuating nepotistic culture since the country attained its independence. 

Motilal Nehru, the father of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, was a well-known lawyer and a freedom fighter. Hailing from a prominent political family, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit’s brother, Jawaharlal Nehru, held the distinction of being the first Prime Minister of Independent India. Pandit’s niece and Jawaharlal Nehru’s daughter, Indira Gandhi, was the first woman Prime Minister of the country and her grand-nephew, Rajiv Gandhi, the sixth prime minister of India.

After the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, his wife, Sonia Gandhi, took over the reins of the party and was the de-facto Prime Minister of the country from 2004-2014, as per many accounts. Sonia Gandhi’s son, Rahul Gandhi, with no administrative experience, was projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate for both 2014 and 2019 General elections but he failed colossally on both occasions to be elected to the position.

Since India’s independence on 15th August 1947, the Nehru-Gandhi family members amongst themselves have been Prime Ministers of independent India for 38 years. That is more half the time India has been independent of British rule.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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