Gandhi dynasty's hopes wrapped in Nehru's gown

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The Independent Online
Priyanka Gandhi, 25 (right), is the one to watch in the latest generation of India's most powerful dynasty. She got married last night, wrapped in the same pale pink cotton sari that Jawharlal Nehru spun by hand for his daughter, Indira, to wear on her wedding day.

Neither marriage ceremony was as ordinary and unprepossessing as the simple cloth. This time, the bride had elite Black Cat commandos in attendance, because she is both the granddaughter and daughter of assassinated prime ministers and, by government decree, must be guarded round the clock by men with guns. The bodyguards had been a constant throughout her unlikely six-year romance with her new husband, Robert Vadra, 28, a costume jeweller and avid disco dancer from the New Delhi's middle class suburbs.

This was not an arranged marriage, with an eye to alliance or advantage. In fact, Mr Vadra - described as a plump "puppy" or Punjabi urban professional - has baffled onlookers who had hoped that she might show more political savvy in her selection.

Deliberately, Priyanka has kept a low profile since her father's 1991 assassination, but many Indians still see her as a reincarnation of the young Indira, and hoped she might fulfil her political destiny. The floundering Congress Party could use someone with her pedigree, and she now is old enough to be an official candidate. But no one knows whether she intends to use her political birthright, or if she sees herself as a modern memsahib, in charge of her husband's house.

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