Varun must apologise for communal remarks, says BJP


New Delhi : Shunning its ‘other Gandhi’ candidate, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said Tuesday that Varun Gandhi should apologise for his inflammatory anti-Muslim remarks that go against the party’s credo of “harmony and unity”.

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“We are of the strong belief that Varun Gandhi should apologise. The BJP dissociates itself from his remarks,” Shahnawaz Hussain, the party’s spokesperson in parliament, told reporters here.

“This (Gandhi’s remarks) is not what the party stands for,” Hussain asserted.

Echoing his view, BJP vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said this was not the culture of the BJP.

“BJP believes in prosperity, harmony and unity and it is the only tool to fight terror,” Naqvi told IANS.

He did not refer to Varun Gandhi’s Congress family background – he is the son of the late Sanjay Gandhi, former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s younger son, and Maneka Gandhi – but said: “It is the Congress culture to divide society on the basis of caste and religion.”

Clearly distancing himself from the controversy, Naqvi said it was up to the Election Commission to take action against Varun Gandhi if he had violated the model code of conduct.

The 29-year-old was Sunday issued a notice by the district authorities in Uttar Pradesh’s Pilibhit, the constituency so carefully nurtured by his mother who gave up the seat to ensure his easy entry into the Lok Sabha.

Varun Gandhi said in Pilibhit Tuesday that the CD containing his speech had been tampered with.