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Varun defends: I'm a Gandhi, Hindu and Indian in equal measure

Varun defends: I'm a Gandhi, Hindu and Indian in equal measure

Author: Pioneer News Service
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: March 19, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/163597/Varun-defends-I'm-a-Gandhi-Hindu-and-Indian-in-equal-measure.html

I am a Gandhi, a Hindu and an Indian in equal measure," BJP leader Varun Gandhi said here on Wednesday and claimed that there was a "political conspiracy" to malign his image and the CD in question was doctored.

Even as Varun refuted making any remark against a particular community, the Election Commission issued a notice to the BJP nominee from Pilibhit and ordered to videograph all his rallies and speeches and sought a response from him over the violation of the model code of conduct.

The commission also ordered the suspensions of the Additional District Magistrate and Additional SP and shifting the DM and the SP to non-election jobs. The commission on Tuesday had directed registration of a criminal case for Varun's inflammatory utterances.

Varun said, "I am pro-India and not anti-anybody... I want to ask the nation to stand by me." He went on to add, "My attempt has been to restore confidence in a community that has been under siege in its own country."

Varun alleged that in Pilibhit, Hindus were living in "fear" and "three temples have been vandalised in the block in which I am supposed to have given the speech".

"Pilibhit is a sensitive border area. There is widespread fear; arms are being smuggled into ghettoes to be used against India," he said. Varun said, "When things are seen out of context, there is always the danger of misunderstanding. India is a big country with a big heart. There is room in it for all to live in peace and goodwill. That is my sincere hope and effort."

He alleged there had been attempts to brand as communal anybody "identifying with the Hindu community", and maintained that he had not done anything to "incite hatred".

Varun, who has taken the plunge into electoral politics from a seat that his mother Maneka Gandhi nurtured for many years, doubted the genuineness of the CD. It was supposed to have been based on a speech given on March 4 but released on March 16, he pointed out.

Varun is learnt to have clarified his stand to BJP leaders LK Advani and Rajnath Singh also.

The BJP was quick to distance itself from Varun's reported remarks. "The party dissociates from and disapproves of the statements attributed to him. He (Varun) has himself raised questions over the statements attributed to him and the Election Commission will deal with that," party spokesman Ravi Shanker Prasad said.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission said it had received a report of the District Election Officer, Pilibhit, on Tuesday, stating, "You (Varun) have violated the Model Code of Conduct by inciting communal feelings through your speeches." A copy of the CD was sent to both Varun and the party.

The commission also ordered the Chief Electoral Officer of Uttar Pradesh to video-track all future visits, rallies and functions undertaken by Varun. The poll panel further directed that a video cameraperson with a magistrate be deputed all the time with security alongside Varun.

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