Development,not Varun,poll issue: BJP

On a day when Varun Gandhi courted arrest in Pilibhit on the issue of the alleged hate speeches,the BJP on Saturday asserted that the coming election.....

Written by Suman K Jha | New Delhi | Published:March 29, 2009 12:22 am

On a day when Varun Gandhi courted arrest in Pilibhit on the issue of the alleged hate speeches,the BJP on Saturday asserted that the coming election would be fought on the issue of “development” and “track-record of the NDA and the UPA governments”.

While the BJP spoke in one voice against the Election Commission advisory — that recommended that Varun should not be nominated by the party in Pilibhit — there is however no unanimity in the party on the episode leading to Varun’s arrest.

NDA’s PM candidate L K Advani explained the BJP support for Varun after the EC advisory when he told PTI at Padrauna in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday: “I support Varun because the EC has done an illegal thing (by issuing an advisory) as the charge against him has not been proved. The case of Varun Gandhi got wide publicity as the EC did something unprecedented. I was surprised.” He added that the (BJP’s) “opponents have made him a poster boy”.

BJP spokesperson Balbir Punj later asserted that the “BJP had no intention of making this (Varun’s arrest) an election issue”. “The general election would be fought on the issue of development and the track record of the NDA Government and UPA Government,” he said.

BJP president Rajnath Singh is said to have backed Varun to the hilt through the episode,and senior party leader Kalraj Mishra had told this paper on Friday that “Rajnath had asked him to be present in Pilibhit when Varun courts arrest”. BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar added on Saturday that “the Congress was trying to hang Varun without a trial while refusing gallows to Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru”.

However,if Varun,with the entire episode,tried to establish his “Hindu credentials”,he appears to have found favour with the RSS. The RSS journal Organiser has carried two items on Varun in the issue hitting the stands on Saturday. The editorial says: “Varun is the first Gandhi to declare that he is a proud Hindu. So he is in trouble. Varun’s reported views can be taken as a first mistake of a (sic) over-enthusiastic debutant politician. Should a promising young career be so cruelly nipped in the bud invoking even the name of his father who was tragically killed orphaning him when he was only two months old?”

Tarun Vijay,who heads the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation,and was recently inducted into the apex BJP panel to strategise for the coming election,writes in the same issue: “Nobody has ever heard any dynasty member say with an understandable assertion that he or she is a Hindu. Rather they always tried to look differently. Yet they are nice,decent,peace-loving patriotic democrats who love to suggest others to “go and read the Gita.”

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