BJP bats for Varun, lashes out at Election Commission (Second Lead)March 23rd, 2009 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday backed Varun Gandhi as its candidate in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit constituency and said the Election Commission did not have the right to make suggestions on a party’s selection of candidates.
“As far as candidature is concerned, I want to say this in clear words that Varun Gandhi will remain our candidate. And we will go for campaigning for him,” said party president Rajnath Singh, a day after the Election Commission castigated Varun Gandhi for his communally inflammatory campaign speeches in Pilibhit.
“Varun Gandhi was our candidate and will remain so,” spokesperson Balbir Punj asserted, reacting sharply to the Election Commission’s advice not to field Gandhi because of his allegedly inflammatory campaign speeches.
“This suggestion of the Election Commission is pregnant with serious implications for Indian democracy. In fact, this unprecedented move on the part of the Election Commission seeks to redefine the contours of democratic practices and traditions in operation since independence,” said Punj.
Emphasising that the CDs were doctored, Punj said: “The Election Commission should have verified authenticity of CDs and it cannot be verified by a layman. They don’t have the technical know-how to check the authenticity of the CD. You need to have a forensic expert to check whether CDs have been tampered with.”
The Election Commission had said the “two speeches (by Varun Gandhi) contained highly derogatory references and seriously provocative language of a wholly unacceptable nature against a certain community”.
Not sparing the BJP, the order stated: “Any sponsorship of his candidature by the BJP, or any other political party, at this election would be perceived as endorsing his unpardonable acts of inciting violence and creating feelings of enmity and hatred between different classes of citizens of India, destroying the social, democratic and plural fabric of the country.”
But the party said there was no question of cancelling Varun Gandhi’s candidature.
“Varun Gandhi has not been even chargesheeted while people like Sanjay Dutt, Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, who have been convicted for various crimes are allowed to contest elections. The EC has never raised its voice against them and they could become parliamentarians and ministers but here you don’t want Varun to contest elections,” Punj said.
However, the BJP has advised its candidates to strictly follow the model code of conduct while talking about sensitive issues.
“The BJP is a party which adheres to the constitution and we have asked our candidates to follow strict code of conduct,” said Punj.
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