Varun Gandhi is a Gandhi first and then a BJP MP aspirant. He forgot this and is now neck deep in trouble over communal election speeches he made while campaigning in Pilibhit, his constituency in Uttar Pradesh.
He can face “imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or fine or both” — under Section 125 of the Representation of the People Act.
And his own party leaders — such as LK Advani — are hopping mad. Muslim leaders of the party such as Shahnawaz Hussain and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi were extremely upset and said so on record.
Here is a sample from Varun’s speech: “Agar koi Hindu ke khilaf ungali uthaiga, ya sochega ki Hindu kamzor hai…. to main Gita ki kasam khata hoon main unke haat kaat doonga (If anyone raises a finger towards Hindus or if someone thinks that Hindus are weak … then I swear on the Gita that I will cut that hand).”
Rattled by the backlash, Varun sought to deny the statements saying the recording had been doctored. “I unequivocally state that is neither my voice nor my language… Even the facts are distorted. I am shown as saying that I have a seven-year-old cousin sister, which is false. Coming from a family that has been part of India’s history, I am well aware of my responsibility. In the event that any feelings have been inadvertently hurt as a result of this controversy, I deeply and sincerely apologise to any that may’ve taken offence where none was meant.”
But that didn’t cut much ice. Hussain raised the issue at the party’s central election committee meeting. “No BJP leader has ever used this kind of language,” he said. Naqvi, who is contesting from Rampur, which neighbours Pilibhit, said, “This will definitely cause misapprehension among the minorities when the BJP is out to assure them fair play and justice.”
Shivanand Tiwari of JD(U), a BJP ally, said, “The EC should take cognisance of Varun’s speech and there should be a proper inquiry.” The EC action against Varun was taken on a complaint filed by Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh. “He has not only communalised the situation but has used abusive words against minorities,” he said.