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Varun Gandhi claims innocence, says CD was tampered

Last updated on: March 17, 2009 14:15 IST

Under attack for making alleged inflammatory remarks with communal overtones, Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Pilibhit Varun Gandhi on Tuesday claimed that the CD containing his speech has been tampered with.

"I know it has been (tampered with). All I want to say is that on Wednesday I will be addressing a press conference in Delhi and I will be clarifying my stand on every single issue....I will be addressing from a proper party forum," the young scion of the estranged Gandhi family said.

At a recent election meeting in Pilibhit, Varun had allegedly said, "All the Hindus stay on this side and send the others to Pakistan. This is the Lotus (BJP symbol) hand, it will cut their throats after elections. They have names such as Karimullah, Mazurullah. If you see them in the night you would get scared."

Continuing in the same vein, the grandson of Indira Gandhi told another meeting "If anyone raises a finger towards Hindus or if someone thinks that Hindus are weak and leaderless, if someone thinks that these leaders lick our boots for votes, if anyone raises a finger towards Hindus, then I swear on Gita that I will cut that hand."

BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi snubbed Varun, who is contesting his maiden election, saying the controversial speech is a manifestation of his family's past Congress culture and that his outbursts did not reflect BJP's traditional culture.

Replying to a question, senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said it is still not clear as to "what he said, what he didn't....what you heard."

Terming Varun's comments as condemnable, Congress spokesman Abhishekh Singhvi said "Varun is associated with a party which has this ideology (anti-minority) and culture".

On a complaint from the Congress party, Varun was slapped with a notice by the Election Commission, charging him with violation of the model code of conduct for elections for his alleged communal remarks.

In his reply submitted to the District Magistrate M P Agarwal, Varun had denied the charge.

An embarrassed BJP has advised all its nominees for the polls to 'practice caution' in their speeches. "We have advised all our candidates to practise caution and restrain in their speeches," party spokesperson Siddarth Nath Singh said.

Asked if his party would initiate any action against Varun for his alleged inflammatory speech, Singh said "that is to be seen but we do not subscribe to such views and this is sure."

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