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    Rabble Rousing Random Ramblings by S Jagadish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

    March 24, 2009
     

    Why Varun Gandhi presents a wonderful opportunity

    Varun Gandhi, formerly known as Sanjay Gandhi & Menaka Gandhi's son, has now officially joined the likes of Bal Thackeray, Narendra Modi, Praveen Togadia, Raj Thackeray, Haji Yaqoob Qureshi and other intolerant Indians. Of course, the way he spoke and the fact that he didn't give two hoots about the law do confirm that he has inherited his father's genes. How ironical that Sanjay Gandhi's son is now a poster-boy for the BJP. The likes of Vajpayee, Advani & George Fernandes, all of who were jailed when Sanjay Gandhi was exercising his 'remote control' authority, would be feeling so proud!

    His speech, spewing hatred, got him in trouble with the Election Commission, who then strongly condemned and censured him. In addition, it opined that he didn't deserve to be a candidate and that the BJP should not nominate him as its candidate.

    The Election Commission has no legal standing in terms of barring candidates from contesting elections before they have filed their nominations. However, it very much has a right to an opinion, which it voiced. It is for the BJP now to either accept the opinion (not verdict, remember) or reject it.

    There are a few criminal cases filed against Varun in UP on the recommendation of the EC, including under section 153A, 295A and 505(2), all of which attract a 3-year jail sentence and/or monetary penalty. If the police do complete their investigation before Varun files his nomination and if he is found guilty by a magistrate/judge, regardless of whether he gets bail, he can be disqualified from contesting the election.

    Having seen the speech video several times myself (on TV and online), there's no doubt that Varun Gandhi's words were not doctored and there's no conspiracy to speak of.

    As expected, all the other parties are voicing their opinions on whether the BJP should show "moral responsibility" and not nominate him as its candidate. Without holding any brief for the BJP, it's perhaps a good time to point out that almost every party has identified such 'star' candidates - Abdul Nasseer Madani, Sanjay Dutt, Sajjan Kumar & Jagdish Tytler, to name a few. Maybe the Congress (I) should also tell us what Rajiv Gandhi meant when he said 'When a big tree falls, the earth trembles' as justification for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

    If political parties had any intention of cleaning up their act, I'd like to see one of them step forward and announce that if they were voted to power, they would change the laws to ensure that those who were charged under specific acts in the IPC would not be eligible for nomination and would also be arrested if they were found to be campaigning, whether for themselves or for others. There's an urgent need to further empower the Election Commission, so that we'd not have to depend on parties acting "morally responsibly".

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