A budding politician with a famous surname, Varun Gandhi, the lesser known of the famous Gandhi clan has suddenly come into the picture by being a messenger of hate. BJP’s candidate from Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh, Varun seems to be enjoying his moment of fame. Almost overnight, he has become the latest poster boy for Hindutva. So what was that has caused much pandemonium in the last couple of weeks in the political scenario? Varun in his famous hate speech very nonchalantly said, “These people have scary names. If anyone raises a finger against Hindus or if someone thinks Hindus are weak, I swear on the Gita that I will cut that hand.” His provocative words have given his opponents enough ammunition against him.
Varun’s campaign speeches were intended to polarise the 15 lakh voters of Pilibhit among communal lines. While few say that Varun seems to be struggling with his inner conflicts, others say that he appears to be a self assured man who stands by what he said. Perhaps, the 29-year-old Varun himself also did not realise that his speeches would so swiftly push him under the glare of the limelight he had always wanted but which had distanced itself from him till yet. His brazen remarks led BJP to disassociate itself with him and say to the Election Commission (EC) that it has got nothing to do with Varun’s utterances. Opposition’s leader, L.K. Advani was not in favour of letting Varun get away with it but he could do little as the RSS came out in support of him. BJP President, Rajnath Singh also said that removing him as the party’s candidate will prove to be setback for the party’s Hindutva agenda. All seems to be fine now in BJP paradise as the party is said to have received requests from over 200 constituencies to send Varun to campaign for the party.
Varun, who holds a post graduate degree in public policy from the London School of Economics, seems to have no remorse for indulging himself in such bitter tirade. The debutante, like a typical shrewd politician blamed his enemies for doctoring his speech. Since the announcement of his candidature from Pilibhit, he has been working hardcore on Hindutva agenda as it appeared to him an idea which would make him a bigger leader than his famous cousin, Rahul Gandhi. On the whole situation, Rahul, maintaining his stoic remarked, “These are his views. I don’t carry hate and anger with me.
Hate and anger blind you.” While Rahul always talks about secularism, Varun went ahead and ranted about being a Hindu and a nationalist.
Varun seems to have calculated all his moves before hand. He is believed to have said that his statements were not made in aggression, but were more defensive in nature. He is also well aware of the frailties in the legal provisions. In the recent days, he has quoted a judgment of the Supreme Court’s judges wherein they said, “Statements made during an election campaign, even if inflammatory in nature, should not be taken literally but merely figuratively”. The EC has asked him to deny him a ticket. He can also be arrested and prosecuted for his words, but there is no way he can be prohibited from contesting an election.
Though BJP was quick to distance itself from his remarks, they also felt that the way to climb up the stairs was to revive Hindutva. Many of the BJP candidates in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are known to have been actively involved with the Ram Mandir movement. BJP has even changed its candidate of Haridwar with a religious leader. BJP’s support to such moves is a clear indication of the fact that it is out to revive its original agenda.
While Bal Thackeray remarked, “Varun said nothing wrong. In fact, he is one Gandhi that we in the Shiv Sena like,” Varun’s cousin sister Priyanka Gandhi said, “Varun has gone against what the Gandhi family has lived and died for.” The whole political community seems to be divided now in their opinions regarding the outspoken Varun. While he wanted to join the Congress before he joined BJP in 2004, now he is on a roll to revive BJP Hindutva agenda. Speaking the language of the Sangh Parivar, he has become the voice of the kar sevaks and the likes. Now if he would be actually able to bring BJP back onto the political map or push it further, time will only tell. But one thing is for sure; he is gearing up for a long drawn battle.