BJP mulls what to do with Varun after poll panel indictment

March 23rd, 2009 - 1:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, March 23 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to tread cautiously on the issue of Varun Gandhi after the Election Commission severely reprimanded its candidate from Pilibhit for breaching the model code of conduct with his inflammatory campaign speeches.
BJP spokesperson Sidharthnath Singh said the party would formulate its official response on the issue at a party meeting.

“We have received a communique from the Election Commission. This will be discussed at a party meeting scheduled today (Monday),” Sidharthnath Singh told IANS.

Asked about the party’s response to the Election Commission’s stinging indictment, which also asked the party not to field him in the upcoming polls, spokesperson Prakash Javadekar gave a similar reply: “We will tell you all that in the afternoon.”

Privately, however, party sources said most of the senior leaders supported Varun Gandhi, the son of the late Sanjay Gandhi, who has been at the centre of a raging storm since last week and faces a criminal case for his alleged hate-Muslim speeches.

However, the final decision on ‘the other Gandhi’ would be taken on the basis of advice given by party’s legal and constitutional experts, party insiders said.

“We are in no hurry. Till date Varun remains our candidate. However, there could be a rethink over this. It’s a complicated issue. The party will have to examine legal aspects of the case,” a senior BJP leader said.

A late evening official communique from the Election Commission said Sunday: “In the considered opinion of the (Election) Commission, the respondent (Varun) does not deserve to be a candidate in the present general elections.”

The Election Commission 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.”

Set to contest his maiden election, the 29-year-old Gandhi has been shown in CDs making fanatical, anti-Muslim, pro-Hindu speeches.

“The commission considered the speeches as a grave violation of the model code of conduct, apart from amounting to promoting feelings of enmity and hatred between different classes on the ground of religion, outraging the religious feeling of a particular community, and promoting hatred and ill-will between two classes of citizens and provoking a section of the citizens to indulge in violence,” the order said.

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