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Cousins Varun, Rahul warm up, back off

india Updated: Apr 03, 2014 00:26 IST

In rare remarks, BJP's Varun Gandhi praised estranged cousin Rahul Gandhi and the Congress leader quickly lapped up the praise leaving the BJP embarrassed after which he changed tack and said it should not be seen as an endorsement of any political party or candidate.

Varun, who is the BJP's youth face in Uttar Pradesh, created a flutter when he said Rahul is doing good work through his self-help groups for ameliorating the status of women in his parliamentary constituency Amethi and added that he would like to do the same in Sultanpur district.

He had also stated that there was a need to work like Rahul through self-help groups for amelioration of women.

Varun's appreciation of Rahul came while he was addressing a group of teachers in Sultanpur on Tuesday night. He is the BJP candidate from Sultanpur for the Lok Sabha elections.

Read: Dynasty rule lives on: sons, daughters contesting at least 50 seats

Asked by newsmen to respond to Varun's remarks, Rahul, who was in Rae Bareli on Wednesday to accompany his mother Sonia Gandhi who filed her nomination papers, said, "Varun sahi kah rahe hain" (What Varun is saying is right).

"We have been working continuously in Amethi according to a strategy... we have laid foundation of education hub..done work for farmers .... got a food park... what Varun is saying is right," he said.

"I am very happy that others are appreciating the work being done in Amethi. (We are) doing (work) as per a strategy... connecting farmers to the world. (We) will continue to work in the field of agriculture, education," the Congress Vice President said.

Caught in a piquant situation, Varun took to Twitter to issue a clarification to say his comments should not be seen as an endorsement of any political party or candidate.

"It should not be seen as an endorsement of any political party or candidate," he tweeted, after praising the work done by self help groups in Amethi to ameliorate the lot of women.

"My comment, last night, in a meeting with teachers and NGOs, in response to being asked whether I knew about initiatives in Amethi, was that although I had not seen the work done via self help groups in Amethi, I had heard it was fairly decent, and that I would stress on empowering people towards being self-reliant," he tweeted.

While his party is attacking Rahul and his party, he was found praising his cousin in Amethi, where the saffron party has fielded TV actor-turned-politician Smriti Irani to give him a tough fight.

Full coverage: Lok Sabha elections 2014