‘Don’t know if I’ll join politics, but I can win from anywhere’

NEW DELHI: “I can definitely win (an election) from anywhere but I am a businessman. Why politics? I should be known for what I am,” says Robert Vadra. The country’s most famous son-in-law likes to be known as an exporter of handicrafts and costume jewelery, while seeking to play down his link with the Gandhi family.In an exclusive interview to TOI on Tuesday, Vadra, 41, said he would join politics only when he felt he could make a difference. “There is a time and place for everything. If I feel that I know enough about this line (politics), if I can dedicate enough time and effort to it, when my children are grown up and if I can make a difference, then why not?” he said. But he hastened to add, “I don’t even indulge in the thought at the moment. I enjoy my children, my business, my fitness regime and other pursuits.”

He revealed for the first time that he was under great pressure to contest from Sultanpur (UP) in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections but refused. “There was huge demand for me to stand (from Sultanpur) but I was clear that it was not my place. I was being recognized only because of the family,” he said.However, he conceded that he “does his bit” by accompanying wife Priyanka during election campaigns. “I travel with her when she campaigns. I have been travelling for 12 years. I have done my bit, given many speeches,” he said.He said he is often asked whether he is disappointed that mother-in-law Sonia Gandhi turned down the offer to become the prime minister in 2004. “I tell them that even if she had become PM, my office would continue to be in Sukhdev Vihar. It would not have changed my lifestyle,” he smiled.

Vadra also revealed that he and Rahul Gandhi share a passion for sports and fitness. In fact, Rahul is his cycling partner and the two often cycle for anywhere between 50 and 100 km in the mornings. Sometimes, the two of them go to the gym to work out together.”But I don’t interfere in his (Rahul’s) politics and he doesn’t interfere in my business,” Vadra stressed. “I don’t tell him who to include in his team and he doesn’t tell me who to hire. I know my business and he knows his.”But there is no escaping from politics because of the family he’s married into. Vadra admitted politics often figured in dinner table conversations at home. “It’s natural,” he shrugged. “The children see their Mamu and their Nani on TV. So we talk about it. We talk about a lot of things with the children at the dinner table including business. The children have a sense of the family history but in a normal way. We don’t want them to feel that they are better than others. We want them to know that `you are not special, that you are like everybody else’.”

While he was reserved about his own political ambitions, Vadra said his children are free to choose politics as a career. “I see actors whose children become actors. If politics is in their blood, they will go to it,” he said. But at present, son Raihan, 10, wants to be a soccer player and daughter Miraya, 8, wants to be a “cooker”, he revealed – Timesofindia