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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Meet Yogesh Varshneya, the BJP youth leader who put Rs 11 lakh bounty on Mamata’s head

Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha leader Yogesh Varshneya , a civil engineer who is into his family’s fruit business, says he made the remark “in a fit of anger”

india Updated: Apr 27, 2017 06:50 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
HT Correspondent, Lucknow
Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha leader Yogesh Varshneya
Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha leader Yogesh Varshneya(File photo)

Hours after becoming instantly ‘infamous’ for his bounty offer on West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Yogesh Varshneya, the 26-year-old BJP youth wing leader with a civil engineering degree, fumbled repeatedly when asked if he was serious on the offer.

“Well ... err ...,” he searched for words after his Rs 11 lakh offer to anyone who came up with Banerjee’s head created a furore and led to parliamentarians demanding action against him.

“Yes ... had the offer been met I would have raised the promised amount... But now it’s a closed chapter... I have expressed regret for my words,” Varshneya, who tends to his family’s fruit business, told HT on the phone from Aligarh.

Police booked Varshneya after a complaint was made against him. “I made the remark in fit of anger after learning how the Mamata Banerjee government is engaging in blatantly anti-Hindu acts,” he said.

Bounties aren’t new to Uttar Pradesh where the then SP minister Yaqoob Qureshi had set the trend of announcing bounties with a Rs 51 crore offer on the head of a Danish cartoonist who made a caricature of Prophet.

But bounty broadcasters probably are aware that theirs is a ‘bailable’ offence. Though the Delhi police had arrested Adarsh Sharma, the Purvanchal Sena president for announcing Rs 11 lakh bounty on the then JNU students’ union chief Kanhaiya Kumar, such police action is rare; in UP at least. No action was initiated on a Meerut youth when he announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh on BJP leader Dayashankar Singh’s tongue for having compared BSP chief Mayawati to a ‘prostitute’ in the run up to 2017 UP polls.

While Dayashankar spent a brief time in jail for his remarks, no action was taken against the man who offered a reward on his head. In case of Yaqoob Qureshi too the Samajwadi Party leadership had ignored demands to act against him.

“It has become a joke. Anyone seeking instant publicity could get away with anything. And since these things get wide publicity in the media people get more encouraged to make such remarks. I think it’s time that some strong action is initiated against these bounty men,” said Athar Siddiqui from the Centre for Objective Research and Development.

“We disapprove of such remarks,” said Abhijat Mishra the national general secretary of BJYM, the organisation to which Varshneya belongs. But from Meerut to Gorakhpur and from Bulandshahr to Bahraich such offers have continuously been made in UP.

First Published: Apr 13, 2017 11:54 IST

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