Varun Gandhi (30), the youngest BJP MP from Pilibhit, had a very simple message for senior party leaders in UP, busy washing their dirty linen in public: "Spare a thought for those workers who helped build the party."
Leading by example, soon after landing in Lucknow, couple of hours behind schedule, he drove straight to Bakshi Ka Talab (BKT), to meet Ram Kumar Singh (Kakaji), an 85-year old party worker on a pacemaker.
"This man devoted his life for the party and was associated with stalwarts like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, when he fought his first election in Balrampur in 1957. Today he is old and ill. Workers like him, who gave their best years to the party, now need our support," he said.
Phrasing his sentences with care, Varun said, "When things are going your way, one can fight as much as one wants to. But in an adverse situation the family should unite. BJP is also a family and these elderly workers are part of the family." He said, this exercise of his wasn't a gimmick aimed at catering to the vote bank. "I don't indulge in vote bank politics. I believe that it's the credibility that matters the most. Once you have it, votes become a by-product." He said, "This isn't the first time that I am doing so. In fact during all my public meetings I make it a point to meet elderly workers."
He parried a query on whether party workers were feeling ignored in UP but the workers, who had gathered in large numbers at the BJP office to meet him, welcomed Varun's gesture.
"It's after a long time that someone is talking of workers. Otherwise these leaders remember us only during election time and after winning conveniently forget us. We have high hopes from this Gandhi," a worker, who had come from Barabanki to "see Varun said. Though Varun preferred to keep it simple, the political implication of his visit and his gesture were already being felt. "The RSS too has been advising the BJP leaders to look inwards. Varun, who is being promoted by the Sangh ahead of the assembly elections in UP, certainly is making the right moves. You would have observed that he has started acting and speaking very maturely," a leader said.
In the evening he attended a dinner hosted for him by BJP MLA from Lucknow (east) Vidya Sagar Gupta, where several legislators and some office bearers of the UP BJP's controversial new team were also present. Some leaders, who had openly voiced their displeasure at the combination of the new UP BJP body, too were seen in Lucknow for a meeting with Varun, an indication that the young BJP MP is playing his cards well.