BJP backs Varun politically and legally: Rajnath Singh


Etah (Uttar Pradesh) : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would take the issue of the “harassment and torture” of its jailed Pilibhit candidate Varun Gandhi to the people, party president Rajnath Singh said Monday after meeting him.

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“We back Varun, who is being harassed and tortured by the state government. Let the law takes it own course but we want to make it clear we will support Varun politically and legally,” Rajnath Singh told reporters after his meeting with Varun Gandhi, behind bars for his alleged inflammatory campaign speeches that have also led to the Mayawati government invoking the National Security Act (NSA) against him.

The BJP president said the party would not sit quiet over the issue and would take it to the “people of India”.

Rajnath Singh said he inquired about Varun Gandhi’s health and alleged that Varun had been falsely implicated and booked under NSA.

“The CD showing Varun making hate speeches are doctored. He (Varun) has been saying this. Action against Varun has been taken in haste. Before taking any action against Varun, the government must have conducted a thorough inquiry.”

Rajnath Singh ignored questions on whether BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi would meet Varun Gandhi in the Etah jail in the coming days.

Police officials said the meeting lasted for around 30 minutes.

“A doctor had gone along with Rajnath Singh to meet Varun after taking the necessary permission from the district administration,” police inspector Nawaab Singh said.

After meeting Varun Gandhi, Rajnath Singh headed to the Ramlila ground in Etah to address a public meeting.

During his Etah visit, he is also expected to target BJP’s rebel Kalyan Singh, who has announced that he would contest the Lok Sabha elections from the seat.

Unwilling to take any chances, the district administration in Etah, 300 km from the state capital Lucknow, had said it planned to videograph the Rajnath Singh-Varun Gandhi meeting for security reasons.

“We are all prepared to prevent any untoward incident. Additional security has been deployed in the district ahead of the meeting,” said Etah district magistrate Gaurav Dayal.

The Uttar Pradesh government had on March 29 invoked the NSA against Varun Gandhi – the BJP’s Lok Sabha candidate from Pilibhit – for his hate speeches and the mob violence that erupted during his arrest the previous day.

On April 1, he was shifted from Pilibhit to Etah jail, 300 km away, due to “security concerns” cited by the state government.

Earlier, several party leaders, including M. Venkaiah Naidu, Kalraj Mishra and BJP state president Ramapati Ram Tripathi, had met Varun Gandhi.