Varun Gandhi, the controversial Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Pilibhit, on Monday once again asserted that he was not in favour of forced sterilisation as had been reported in the media.
"I am against forced family planning measures. In a democratic country like ours, such measures cannot be adopted," Varun Gandhi said at an election rally in Pilibhit, some 250 km from here.
"I never said that I am in favour of forced family planning. My comments about family planning were reproduced in a wrong way in a section of media," he said.
The media had reported that the young leader in an interview to the London-based Daily Telegraph had said that he was in favour of reviving his father the late Sanjay Gandhi's controversial population control policies.
Sanjay Gandhi was criticised for the way he handled the Congress government's population control programme, accused of forcing many men to undergo sterilisation operations in the mid-1970s.
"In my interview, I had only said that as growing population was one of the biggest problems in the country, everyone should think of solving it seriously," Varun Gandhi clarified.
Reiterating his resolve to fight for restoring the dignity of the downtrodden, the BJP candidate said: "I will continue with my fight as self-respect of the poor and weaker sections is of prime importance for me."
Varun Gandhi appealed to the young voters to support him and ensure his victory by a record margin in the election.
He had earlier courted controversy with his alleged hate speeches for which he was jailed by the Uttar Pradesh government.