“If Sanjay wanted, he could have got a Congress ticket at the appropriate time. My father would never have associated with the Samajwadi Party (SP). For the first time since he died I am thankful he is no longer alive to see this ignominy.”
Congress MP Priya Dutt was mincing no words. And this time the targets were her brother and his wife Maanyata.
Priya was utterly shocked when the SP’s Amar Singh announced her brother Sanjay’s candidature from Lucknow on his party ticket. She was upset that neither she nor her sister Namrata were consulted before Sanjay took the decision.
“I first refused to believe it. But later I decided to put a good face on it and wish him the best,” Priya told Hindustan Times.
But now she has come out in the open against her brother because of Singh’s efforts to field Maanyata in place of Sanjay in case he does not get Supreme Court clearance to contest. Sanjay was convicted for six years in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case and needs the conviction stayed to enter Parliament.
Priya is certain the decision to contest was not her brother’s, but Maanyata’s. “He is far too busy with films to find the time for politics. He has all along insisted he has no plans to enter politics yet, but every time he would issue a statement to that effect Maanyata would counter it by saying, ‘No, Sanjay will contest’,” Priya said. “She manipulated my brother into this situation to further her own ambitions.”
But why is the rest of the Dutt family so much against Sanjay’s wife? “She is not his wife. She is not even the daughter-in-law of Sunil and Nargis Dutt as Singh claims. She is just some woman who has trapped my brother,” said Priya.
At the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit last November, answering a question from HT Advisory Editorial Director Vir Sanghvi, Sanjay sought to play down the differences between his wife and his sisters by saying: “All sisters are against their brothers’ wives.”
But Priya told HT: “This is not the usual saas-bahu kind of difference between a nanad and a bhabhi. We are against her because of the kind of woman she is. I cannot even begin to tell you what it means to have my father’s fair name sullied by a woman like her.”
Priya hinted at a scandalous past and is afraid that if Maanyata contests, it will not only explode in her face but completely destroy the reputation her father built.
The Dutt family, which has stood by Sanjay through thick and thin, has sent out a clear message to him: “You are on your own on this one.”