Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Maneka Gandhi has said that some party seniors were targeting her son and Pilibhit MP Varun Gandhi and blaming him for the party's poll debacle.
According to reliable sources, Maneka was responding to party leaders Shahnawaz Hussain and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi at the BJP's two-day national executive meeting which began on Saturday.
Hussain and Naqvi had said the party was practising the "Pilibhit brand of Hindutva", which cost it dearly in the polls.
The two leaders stated this even during a meeting of the BJP's office-bearers on Friday evening to discuss the strategy for the national executive. They said the young MP's speeches led to the party's electoral debacle.
"Varun is being targetted and the party must protect him," a source quoted Maneka Gandhi as saying at the conclave.
Varun Gandhi courted controversy during the run-up to the elections in March by making alleged anti-Muslim speeches, for which the Election Commission reprimanded him and even said the BJP should not field him.
He was jailed for this and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati invoked the National Security Act against him. Gandhi, a first-time MP from Pilibhit, was subsequently let off by the Supreme Court.