Varun was never with us, says LSE but SOAS keeps mum

By Dipankar De Sarkar, IANS,

London : Varun Gandhi, the young Bharatiya Janata Party activist aspiring to be MP, was never a student at the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE), a spokesman for the university said Monday.

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“He was never an LSE student and he does not have an LSE degree,” the spokesman told IANS, commenting on reports that Gandhi had a law degree from the LSE.

The spokesman, however, said that Gandhi may have studied under a University of London external students programme, a distance-learning course.

“These are not held in the colleges, but the LSE and other institutions contribute to the curriculum and courses,” the spokesman explained.

The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), another prestigious London institution of higher learning, refused to comment on reports that Gandhi had done his Master’s from the school.

“For data protection reasons, the School can neither confirm nor deny any information about the person named in your enquiry,” said the school’s Mary O’Shea.

When pressed, she told IANS that journalists would have to write to the school and formally request information under the Freedom of Information Act.

Meanwhile, the LSE spokesman said an online petition seeking to dissociate the LSE and SOAS faculty, staff, students and alumni “from the values recently expressed by” Varun Gandhi had no official sanction.

“It is up to individuals to sign such petitions,” he added.