Priyanka has crossed 'lakshman rekha of decency': Varun

Last Updated 15 April 2014, 10:23 IST
Breaking his silence over cousin Priyanka Gandhi's remark that he has gone "astray", Varun Gandhi today suggested that she has crossed the "lakshman rekha of decency" and said nobody can raise one's stature by belittling somebody.

The 34-year-old BJP leader also said that his "decency and large-heartedness" should not be construed as a weakness by anyone.

Varun, who filed his nomination from Sultanpur Lok Sabha seat after holding a massive road show here, also chose the occasion to hail the leadership of Narendra Modi after remaining silent over him for over a month during his campaign in his new Parliamentary constituency bordering Amethi and Rae Bareli, the Nehru-Gandhi family pocketborough.



Four local BJP leaders from Upper caste and OBC communities signed as proposers in his nomination

Hardselling his son of the soil image, the BJP general secretary repeatedly invoked his father Sanjay Gandhi's name while addressing a public meeting in the city drawing cheers from the crowd.

Talking of his commitment to the politics of decency and decorum, Varun claimed that he never crossed the "lakshman rekha of decency" against his family members or senior leaders of Opposition parties.

Gandhi, an MP from Plibhit, switched to Sultanpur this time and is considered to be in a strong position.

Rahul Gandhi, who represents neighbouring Amethi held a road show in 16 km area of Sultanpur when he filed his nomination from Amethi on April 12. The same day, Priyanka Gandhi addressing a gathering of party workers from Sultanpur criticised Varun for BJP links.

"He is definitely from my family, he is my brother.But he has gone astray. When a young one in the family chooses the wrong path, then elders show them the right path, the right way.I urge all of you to show my brother the right path," she had said.

Her comments had invited immediate response from Varun's mother Maneka Gandhi who said if he has gone astray while serving the country, then the country will decide.
Alluding to the spat, Varun said, "These days, lot of things have come up.I just want to tell this much that nobody should treat my decency and large-heartedness as weakness ...There have been a talk about my path.I am a simple youth. 

"My path is not that important.Rather we should focus on how to strengthen the path of the nation. We should do politics of values and issues and not one of personal insinuation...if we do the politics of badmouthing one another and try to raise someone's stature by belittling someone, it is not going to benefit anybody," Varun said.

The BJP leader said people ask him why he does not talk against some individual or party and whether he does not feel that he should get some publicity by doing so and his answer to this is that "one who is focused on work does not have time for all this".
"People asked me whether you will now go to campaign in Amethi and Rae Bareli since now people have said certain good things about you.

 I told them that I am son of Sanjay Gandhi and stick to what I say.The day I had joined politics, I said that I will not speak against my family members nor against my political enemies.

"I do not consider my family members as enemies but won't speak against even those, who are my political enemies," Gandhi said.

Varun said that he believes that his respect will notrise by insulting somebody.
While hailing Modi's leadership, he also focused on "secular" politics and recalled that it was A B Vajpayee, who had brought him in politics.

"If the country needs a strong leader in the time to come, that leader is Narendra Modi...The country needs a strong leader, who considers the nation's honour his own honour, treats the country's fight as his own fight," he said asking people to unite rising over caste and creed.

"My politics is secular, progressive, positive and issue-based. Why not we raise the issues that matter...we have to do a politics in which we talk about the rising corruption in the country, unemployment and illiteracy.No good will happen by our speaking ill or taking about caste and religion.

"As long as we do not respect the religion and fellow feeling of one another, the country will not rise.The unity of the nation will fall under threat. The country today needs unity," he said seeking to project himself as a votary of positive politics minus any sectarian focus.

While Gandhi repeatedly invoked his father's name, he also had a piece of word against dynastic politics saying, "If politics has to be improved, dynasty politics will have to be minimised. Had I not been Varun Gandhi, or been some Varun Yadav, Varun Verma or Varun Dikshit, I would not have got this place and would have been standing in someone's procession.

"I accept this and it is more of our responsibility to ensure that people from ordinary families get opportunities. Why not we bring forward people from ordinary families?," he said.

Varun said BJP has given such opportunities to people from ordinary families and thanked leaders like L K Advani, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj and Nitin Gadkari for promoting him in the party.

Seeking to connect with the voters, he recalled that his father breathed his last when he was just 100-days old and said, "You bless me not as a leader but as a son".
"Wherever I go, people say had Sanjay Gandhi been alive, this or that task would have been accomplished...Today Sanjayji is no more.

"His dream was very big but he got very little time.I was just 100-days old, when he breathed his last...Today when I have come, here, I am remembering my father so much but you have compensated that loss with your love," Varun, who was earlier accorded a warm welcome during the road show with supporters greeting him with drum beats and showering of flower petals, said.  In a statement issued earlier, the BJP leader said, "Let us try to raise the level of discourse rather than lowering it. When we practise politics centered on personal criticism, we deviate from the crucial issues of our time. If India has to move towards politics of hope, we will have to raise the level of debate".

With Gandhi entering the poll fray from the Parliamentary seat, Sultanpur is abuzz with talks of a lotus bloom after a gap of 16 years.BJP had won the seat thrice between 1991 to 1998 after which BSP won it twice in 1999 and 2004.

Sanjay Singh won from Sultanpur on a Congress ticket in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
Congress is making all efforts to retain the seat, where Varun Gandhi is seeking to make it a battle of legacy invoking his father Sanjay Gandhi's name and describing Sultanpur as his ‘karmabhoomi’.

Varun's father had represented Amethi from 1980 to 1981 before his death in a plane crash.In the 1981 by-election Rajiv Gandhi won from the seat.

Sanjay Gandhi had also contested the seat in 1977 earlier but had lost it.Amethi was part of Sultanpur district and Sanjay Gandhi's election office was opened in the district headquarters then.

In 1984, Sanjay Gandhi's widow Maneka Gandhi contested from the seat as an independent against Rajiv Gandhi but lost to him.

Supporters of Varun are confident that the young Gandhi will repeat his massive victory recorded in Pilibhit here notwithstanding the fact that BJP candidate, Surya Bhan Singh, who fought the last Lok Sabha polls could only garner 44,425 votes.

That may be a reason, why Varun is not focusing too much on his party and or BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate as he realizes that the name of his father Sanjay Gandhi could evoke a better emotional connect in the constituency.

Sometimes back, he had praised the "good work" being done by Rahul Gandhi in Amethi that created a flutter in BJP but locals believe that it was done to reach out to those sections of Congress workers, who are unhappy with Sanjay Singh and may be ready to help a Gandhi family candidate, albeit from the Opposition party.
(Published 15 April 2014, 07:44 IST)

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