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Rahul, Bilawal have much to share

Delhi,Indo-Pak/Pakistan,Politics, Sat, 07 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) Rahul Gandhi and Bilawal Zardari Bhutto, two scions whose respective pasts have uncanny similarities, are expected to talk at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's lunch here Sunday for Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.


Informed sources said Bilawal, who took over as Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman at age 19 after the assassination of his mother and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007, figures in the guest list.



The sources said Rahul may also be at the lunch, and the two young leaders from India and Pakistan may get to talk.



Both Rahul, 41, and Bilawal, 23, hold key posts in the Congress and PPP, respectively. Both hail from famous political families and are also seen as potential rulers of their respective countries by the faithful.



Rahul and Bilawal have studied in Britain - the former at Cambridge, the latter at Oxford.



Rahul is general secretary of the Congress, which heads India's ruling United Progressive Coalition. Bilawal is chairman of the ruling PPP.



Both are sons of former prime ministers who were tragically assassinated.



Rahul's father Rajiv Gandhi was blown up by a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber in May 1991.



Bilawal's mother Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in near similar fashion in December 2007.



Both victims were campaigning for their parties ahead of parliamentary elections.



Rahul's grandmother Indira Gandhi was prime minister as was Bilawal's grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.



Both Indira Gandhi and Bhutto senior also met tragic deaths. One was gunned down, the other was hanged.



Both Rahul and Bilawal have stated their commitment to deepen democracy in their respective countries.



Rahul has embarked on a task to democratise the functioning of the Youth Congress.



Bilawal quoted his mother Benazir Bhutto in his speech soon after taking over as PPP chairperson to say: 'Democracy is the best revenge.'



Both face tough challenges, and both have plenty of critics.



The similarities end here.



Rahul is an MP and has increasingly played an active role in elections, campaigning for candidates, and trying to rejuvenate the Congress in those states where it once held sway.



Bilawal is yet to contest an assembly or parliamentary election.



His supporters say he is expected to play a key role in PPP in the 2013 general elections.


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