Breaking his silence a day after stepping out of jail on a two-week parole, Varun Gandhi, who has been booked under the National Security Act for his alleged hate speeches, on Friday said he would continue to raise his voice against 'anti-national forces'.
Having given an undertaking to the Supreme Court that he will not make any inflammatory speeches, Varun, 29, who was released from Etah jail in Uttar Pradesh on Thursday evening after remaining behinds bars for 20 days, issued a written statement saying he had never advocated violence as a tool in politics.
The Supreme Court had on Thursday ordered that Varun, the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from Pilibhit, be granted a two-week parole on the condition he will not make any inflammatory speeches during the elections.
In the statement circulated to media, Varun said the countrymen need to unite to face the threat of terrorism emanating from the neighbouring countries.
"Indians should unite to face the threat of terrorism (emanating from) neighbouring countries. We need to rise and face this menace boldly and I shall continue to raise my voice against anti-national forces," Varun said. Besides being booked under the stringent National Security Act for hate speeches in Pilibhit, which he claims he never made, Varun faces charges of attempt to murder, rioting and voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from doing his duty.
The BJP, which has welcomed the apex court directive, said Varun will campaign for the party while not resorting to any hate speeches.
"Yes, he will campaign," BJP president Rajnath Singh told reporters, adding, "he (Varun) will never give a hate speech and neither has he ever given any hate-speech in the past. This he himself has said on several occasions."
Varun expressed happiness over the relief provided by the Supreme Court and said he looked forward to being vindicated 'fully' by the highest court in regard to this 'illegal detention'. "I should also like to answer all the other false charges being leveled against me. Let me make it clear I do not and never have advocated violence as a tool in politics," he said.
Thanking BJP and others for their support, Varun said his immediate task was to help return a government which will be in the "'best interests' of the country. "History shows that my family has always been strengthened by times of adversity. I too am being tested and shall not be found wanting," he added.
According to party sources, a section of the leadership is against deputing Varun on the campaign trail as they fear a public backlash.
Varun is likely to accompany his mother, Maneka Gandhi, a BJP Member of Parliament, on Saturday to Aaonla in UP's Bareily district, about 230 km from Delhi, for filing her nomination papers. Varun is likely to file his nomination papers next week.
Though Varun made no mention of it in his statement, BJP spokesman Balbir Punj claimed the young BJP leader was tortured in jail and was a victim of 'vendetta politics'.
"Varun Gandhi is a victim of the vendetta politics of Sonia Gandhi and Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh. He has come out (from jail) as a strong man. He will file his nomination papers from Pilibhit on April 21," he told reporters. Pilibhit goes to polls in the last of the five-phased poll on May 13.
The last date for filing nominations is April 24. The young leader will also campaign in other parts of the country for the party apart from his own constituency, Punj said.
Shortly before he was released, a tough talking Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati warned in Lucknow that even more stringent action would be taken against Varun if he violates his undertaking not to make inflammatory speeches.