The BJP MP Varun Gandhi is albatross around the party’s neck. From the past few years, Varun Gandhi has often come in direct opposition to the party’s line. Varun Gandhi tried his effort best to undermine ‘Modi wave’ back in the 2014 general elections. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he contested from Sultanpur, his new constituency. Soon after BJP came to power in 2014 with a landslide majority, Maneka Gandhi told her workers to run a campaign that Varun Gandhi would be the next CM of UP. It created some tensions between Maneka Gandhi and the BJP which ultimately led to the dropping Varun Gandhi from the post of general secretary and he was also not allotted any other post. In 2016, at the time of BJP’s national executive meet in Allahabad, he turned rebel. The “Varun Youth Brigade” put up posters across the city with line, “Smriti Irani has become unfit, UP’s clamouring for one leader, this time it’s got to be Varun.” In UP state assembly elections, not even a single nominee of Varun Gandhi was given a ticket and party also asked him to refrain from campaigning in Sultanpur.
Varun Gandhi has time and again has created problems for the party with his statements. In 2017, in the midst of a raging debate over the death penalty to terrorist Yakub Memon, Varun Gandhi in an article titled ‘The Noose Casts A Shameful Shadow‘, supported abolition of death penalty. In his article, he gave casteist and communal color to death penalty of a convicted terrorist. He added that, “94 per cent of death row convicts are Dalits or from the minorities.”
Last year while addressing students in an Indore college, he raised questions on the accomplishments of his own government. He had said, “In the last two years, over 50,000 depressed farmers had committed suicide over small amounts while statistics only say the figure is 7,000 per year. While Vijay Mallya fled the country with Rs. 10,000 crore loan outstanding and nothing has been done about him.” In 2016 when the entire opposition was targeting the BJP over Rohit Vemula’s suicide, Varun Gandhi saw that as an opportunity to side with his leftist counterparts. He then said, “Rohit Vemula, a dalit Ph.D student from Hyderabad committed suicide last year. When I read his letter, I broke into tears. Rohit wrote that he was taking the extreme step because he had committed the sin of taking birth in such form. This line pained my heart immensely.” He used the name of Rohit Vemula to grab the media attention at a time when he was increasingly becoming irrelevant in the party. He has constantly differed from the party line and is hungry for media attention.
Since PM Modi has to power and Amit Shah assumed the throne of party president of the BJP, Varun Gandhi has become uncomfortable with the BJP and is constantly at loggerheads with the party leadership. Recently, he again undermined the party’s top leadership in a statement, and said that he got a call from PMO asking “why are you increasing our troubles?” According to the Financial Express report, during a programme in Model Women’s College in Sultanpur, Varun Gandhi said, “I repeatedly raise my voice about the increase in salaries of MPs and not giving details of their assets. Employees of every sector get increase in their wages based on hard work and honesty. But in the last 10 years, MPs have increased their salaries seven times just by raising their hands.” “When I raised this issue once, I received a call from the PMO.”
His statements and his stand against the party line raise a very serious question- Is Varun finally signalling his love towards the ‘Gandhis’?