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BJP says Varun still its candidate

BJP says Varun still its candidate

Author: PTI
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: March 23, 2009

URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/164564/BJP-says-Varun-still-its-candidate.html

Maintaining that Varun Gandhi is still its candidate, BJP today alleged that Chief Election Commissioner-designate Navin Chawla's "proximity" to Congress could be the reason behind the poll body's decision on its Pilibhit Lok Sabha nominee.

It also suggested that strained relations between Sonia Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi was another reason for the Election Commission's decision.

"There are candidates with criminal charges in other parties also. Sanjay Dutt of SP, who was indicted by the TADA court, and Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar of Congress, who are facing charges in connection with anti-Sikh riots. Why has an exception been made only for Varun Gandhi?" party spokesperson Balbir Punj asked.

On if the party saw the decision to be a political conspiracy against Varun Gandhi, Punj told reporters that "the world knows about the strained relationship between Sonia Gandhi and Maneka Gandhi (Varun's mother).

"We also know about the proximity of the CEC-designate Navin Chawla with Congress and its leadership. I would not like to comment anything on it."

Party sources said that it is highly unlikely that BJP could withdraw Gandhi from the poll fray as it could affect its electoral prospects.

"Yes, Varun is still our official candidate," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javdekar told NDTV.

He said, "Basically it is not the EC's job to say who should be candidate and who should not be.

"EC is not an investigating agency. They are not the forensic lab to tell whether the tape is authentic or not," he said.

"This is not the advisory function of the Election Commission. If somebody makes such remarks, this is not the BJP's policy or viewpoint," he added.

Javdekar maintained that the EC is "no authority" as the right to pronounce someone as guilty or not is reserved to the courts.

Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Veerappa Moily said that the BJP is adopting a soft attitude on the issue.

"The EC is absolutely right in giving that kind of an advice. The advice comes first and the action comes next. If they do not take the advice then the onus will lie on BJP," said Moily.


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