BJP parliamentarian Varun Gandhi was dragged into a raging controversy involving former IPL boss Lalit Modi on Wednesday after the ex-cricket administrator alleged the Sultanpur MP offered him a deal to “settle everything” in the Congress with Sonia Gandhi.
In a series of tweets, Modi said the young Gandhi came to see him at his house a few years ago and said he could settle everything in the Congress with his aunt.
“He wanted me to meet her sister from Italy. I heard him next I heard from our common friend who introduced us that Auntie wants 60 million dollars,” he tweeted.
“the auntie he refers to is #soniagandhi (sic). The sister is #soniagandhi sister - just for clarity.”
Hours later, Gandhi dismissed the charge and was backed by his party. "This is absolutely baseless and it is beneath my dignity to respond to this nonsense," he told PTI.
The BJP also rejected the allegations, saying he was in a party different from that of Sonia Gandhi's.
"Varun Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are in different parties and the world knows about the ties between the two families,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
But Modi further tweeted. "Please clarify @varungandhi80 did u or did u not come to my house in london. Whilst staying at the Ritz hotel in lon a few years ago."
"Please mr @varungandhi80 - let the world know what you told about what auntie wants - witness is our good friend world renowned astrologer.”
The former chief of the cash-rich Indian Premier League is at the centre of a storm involving top BJP leaders. The Opposition has run a shrill campaign for the resignations of foreign minister Sushma Swaraj -- who helped him get UK travel documents -- and Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who allegedly appeared as a witness in his immigration plea.
The BJP has stood by both leaders and rejected resignation demands but party leaders are increasingly worried the protracted row was hurting its image.