Facing wide-spread criticism for his alleged communal remarks, Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate for the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls Varun Gandhi on Wednesday told media persons that the incriminatory CD, which shows him making inflammatory statements against the minority community, had been doctored.
"I am the victim of a political conspiracy. The voice on the CD is not mine, those words are not mine," he stated in a press conference in New Delhi.
The BJP, embarrassed by the controversy stirred up by Varun, had reportedly banned him from addressing the media. However, the estranged scion of the Nehru-Gandhi family went ahead with the press meet.
Defending his pro-Hindu stand, Varun said, "I am not apologetic about my faith. I am proud of it."
"Nothing I have said was intended to incite anyone. There is no question of my having any ill feeling towards any community," he said.
Reiterating that he respected all faiths, the grandson of Indira Gandhi said, "I am proud to be a Hindu, an Indian and a Gandhi."
The Election Commission had slapped a notice on Varun, asking him to explain the communal tirade he launched during campaigning in Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh, from where he is contesting the LS poll.
Dissatisfied with his explanation, the EC had ordered the Pilibhit police to register a case against Varun under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Representation of the People Act and for violations of the model code of conduct.
The BJP, however, denied issuing any directive to Varun against holding the press conference.
Varun also wondered why the CD was made public on March 16 when he made the speech on March 5. "The CD was supposed to be made on March 5, why was it released on March 16? Where was it for 12 days, who has made it," he asked.
Varun said he has been attempting to restore confidence in a community that has been 'under siege' and asked the nation to stand by him. He alleged that in Pilibhit, Hindus are 'living under fear' and 'three temples have been vandalised in the block in which I am supposed to have given the speech'.
"Pilibhit is a sensitive border area. There is widespread fear, arms are being smuggled into ghettos to be used against India," he said.
Varun added, "When things are seen out of context, there is always the danger of misunderstanding. India is a big country with a big heart. There is room in it for all to live in peace and goodwill. That is my sincere hope and effort."
He also claimed that 'cow slaughter remains' have been found in various houses in his constituency and no action has been taken against it.
Accusing the authorities of giving a raw deal to the Hindus, he alleged that, "Thousands and thousands of people from Hindu community have been placed under arrest under the National Security Act."