Varun Gandhi’s hate-Muslim speech makes his BJP squirm

Varun Gandhi, son of Menaka Gandhi and BJP candidate from Pilibhit, found himself at the receiving end of both his own party and the Congress for alleged communal remarks which also prompted the Election Commission to seek a report on his speeches from the Pilibhit district administration.

"This is not a hand (Congress symbol), it is the power of the lotus (BJP symbol). It will cut the head of... Jai Shri Ram," a PTI report quoted Varun Gandhi (29) as telling an election meeting in Pilibhit, his attack directed at the Muslims. At another meeting, the PTI report said, he said: "If anyone raises a finger towards Hindus or if someone thinks that Hindus are weak and leaderless, if someone thinks that these leaders lick our boots for votes, if anyone raises a finger towards Hindus, then I swear on Gita that I will cut that hand."

The Congress, headed by Varun's aunt Sonia Gandhi, was quick to condemn the remarks as "unethical and against law". "It is condemnable... He (Varun) is associated with a party which has this (anti-minority) ideology and culture," Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters in New Delhi.

BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi snubbed Varun, saying his speech is "a manifestation of his family's past Congress culture" and that his outburst "did not reflect BJP's traditional culture".

The Pilibhit district administration said it is waiting for Varun's reply to a notice on the speech before taking action "if necessary". While officials claim to have sent the notice to him three days ago, Varun's election coordinator Yogendra Singh Gangwar told The Indian Express over phone from Pilibhit that they were yet to receive it. The only notice received so far, Gangwar said, was about rallies for which they had not got permission. "We have submitted the permission letters to the district administration," he said.

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