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Whoa, Varun!

Varun Gandhi, we hardly knew ye. What’s going on? You need to do some Super Brain Yoga (video link).

But seriously, I agree with Retributions regarding what the BJP needs to do now:

If the charges against junior Gandhi are proven, then BJP should have no hesitation in dropping him from its candidate list. After all, even BJP leaders have  strongly condemned his remarks. Surely, they should have no problems in taking the next logical step.

In recent days, BJP has been repeatedly embarrassed by people who claim they owe allegiance to the same ideology. In each such case, BJP has claimed that it has no association with such people. Well, that may be true. But in this particular case, Varun Gandhi is the official candidate of the party. By dropping him, BJP will prove its detractors wrong who claim that while  the party condemns the likes of Muthalik, it tacitly endorses them. [Retributions]

The only minor correction I would make is that this hot potato should be dropped without waiting for charges to be proven. The video evidence looks rather solid (search YouTube for plenty of copies). By taking action now, the Party can claim the moral high ground and then take other parties to task over their shortcomings. Waiting for proof is a good thing for the legal system, not for political parties fighting a PR battle.

This other observation, also on INI platform, by Offstumped is beyond my understanding:

It should not baffle anyone that Varun Gandhi should play the victimhood card in an election, after all playing victim has been the trademark of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty in soliciting votes starting with Indira Gandhi’s victimhood to Sonia Gandhi’s second sacrifice. [Offstumped]

Uh, what? That doesn’t make sense at all. The kind of victimhood card Varun Gandhi was caught playing is actually the trademark of the extreme Right (read: some sections of BJP) in India.

Unlike Offstumped, I don’t find it “heartening to note that both Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Shahnawaz Hussain have been fielded to disown Varun Gandhi’s remarks” either. If the BJP thinks that Muslims will only listen to Muslim leaders, how is it any different from the rest of the political parties? Fielding Muslim members of the party to defend it against charges of being anti-Muslim is actually quite communal in itself, and puts the party right where it doesn’t want to be – in the company of other communal parties. It might just be the street-smart thing to do, but surely it is not something “heartening”!

The issue should have been clarified either at the level of the projected Parliamentary leader, or at the level of the Party President, and action taken at the earliest without waiting for Election Commission’s decision. It could still be win-win for BJP if action is taken now.

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Categories: Politics Tags: ,
  1. March 18, 2009 at 9:47 am

    In response to your comments above

    – You are right the “victimhood” is one thing that unites the extreme left and the extreme right. I have been quite unequivocal on the issue of “Victimhood”. http://offstumped.nationalinterest.in/2008/11/07/dharma-701-or-maybe-101-for-many-dont-seem-to-get-it/

    The point with respect to Varun Gandhi was that the Nehru-Gandhis have played “victimhood” of both a personal variety and a group variety over the decades. This perhaps was not obvious from the examples cited, but you will notice the examples were not meant to be a representative list but were meant to be a chronological range starting with Indira Gandhi and emergency post HC verdict to Sonia Gandhi on Office of Profit issue.

    – On the question of who should have made a statement from the BJP, the point was not about “Muslims listening to Muslims” but quite the opposite, it was about “Muslims in BJP” making an unequivocal statement to non-Muslims that they are not mere figureheads and have the freedom to be critical without having to wait for the official party line.

    On whether Varun Gandhi should be dropped before or after the charges are proven, I was quite clear in my post that they should never have been indulged by the BJP in the first place.

    Hope this clarifies.

  2. March 18, 2009 at 10:11 am

    @Yossarin: Thanks for the comment and clarification. I didn’t invoke the victimhood of extreme Left or the Dynasty because I didn’t think it was pertinent to the issue of evaluating Varun Gandhi’s comments. I agree with your views on both of those counts though.

  3. Tamasic
    March 18, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    I think, Varun has taken a courageous, albeit a dangerous stand, against the aggressive sexual predators of UP who are motivated by jihadist zeal. The consequent character assassination which Varun has had to face is a political master stroke by his opponents to cushion the ‘Yuvraj’ from any comparison with Varun – who is also fighting on the same turf.

    BJP would do good to train the young boy in art of public discourse without extinguishing his Nationalist zeal. Varun can do a NAMO in UP by winning back the traditional Nationalist vote-base that has shifted to BSP.

    Varun – “Winds in Your Sails Pal! Give em Hell”

  1. May 16, 2009 at 8:58 pm

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