New Delhi: The names of Varun Gandhi – the BJP MP from Pilibhit and his mother Maneka Gandhi were dropped from the fresh list of the 80-member BJP national executive posted today on Thursday after the former tweeted several strong messages against the Lakhimpur Kheri violence and sought strict actions against the culprits. The party brushed off the omission – sources said such rejigs are a “routine exercise”.
Varun Gandhi was the only BJP leader to take flag the issue, in which the son of a BJP Union minister has been accused of murder. Ashish Mishra, the son of BJP’s junior home minister Ajay Mishra, has not been questioned or arrested.
“There are other senior leaders from UP who have become part of the council in their place. There are at least ten. They must have lost their utility or relevance. We have seen the statements of the son on various occasions. It is after all the party’s decision,” media quoted a senior BJP leader from Uttar Pradesh as saying.
BJP president JP Nadda announced the new national executive committee which has 80 members, including PM Modi, LK Advani, MM Joshi, Rajnath Singh, Amit Shah, Nitin Gadkari and floor leader in Rajya Sabha Piyush Goyal among others.
Other leaders apparently acknowledged that the Pilibhit MP’s stance did not go down well with the top leadership.
“He projected as if the entire fault lies at the doorsteps of the leaders. We are awaiting the investigation report and believe that incident was unfortunate. He should have been patient at a time when the entire opposition is targeting the party,” ANI quoted a senior BJP leader as saying.
Varun Gandhi has been consistently speaking in support of farmers during their ongoing stir against the Centre’s new farm laws. His mother Maneka Gandhi has also been sympathetic to the farmers’ cause. Former Union minister Birender Singh, who was also seen as sympathetic, has been dropped as executive member. So has Subramanian Swamy, who was seen as being critical of the party of late.
On Tuesday, Varun Gandhi had tweeted a rather grainy video of a black SUV ploughing through a group of peaceful protesters from behind. Four farmers had died, another four lives were lost in the subsequent violence and arson.
Varun Gandhi has taken a strong stand on the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and has posted messages demanding strict time-bound action, at a time when the party is trying to counter an aggressive opposition and minimise the possible damage.
The BJP MP today posted a video purportedly of the Lakhimpur Kheri incident and said the protesters cannot be silenced through murder asking for accountability for the farmers.
In the 37-second video a speeding Mahindra Thar jeep is seen running over people. Two SUVs — one black and another white — was seen following the jeep while there is commotion of people shouting and crying in the video.
He also said justice must be delivered before a message of arrogance and cruelty enters the minds of every farmer.
Calling it “murder”, Varun Gandhi said the video was enough to “shake the soul”.
The video is crystal clear. Protestors cannot be silenced through murder. There has to be accountability for the innocent blood of farmers that has been spilled and justice must be delivered before a message of arrogance and cruelty enters the minds of every farmer. 🙏🏻🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/Z6NLCfuujK
— Varun Gandhi (@varungandhi80) October 7, 2021
Earlier on Monday, Varun Gandhi had said a murder case under IPC section 302 should be lodged against those involved in the death of farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri. He had emphasised that the protesting farmers should be dealt with restraint and patience.
In a letter to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Varun Gandhi also demanded a CBI inquiry in the case in a time-bound manner and Rs 1 crore compensation to the family members of deceased farmers.
“The incident of brutal mowing down of farmers protesting in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3 is heart-wrenching. It has caused rage and pain among citizens in the country … The incident is unforgivable. Protesters are our citizens. If they have problems with some issues and are protesting within their democratic rights then we should keep restraint and be patient while dealing with them,” read his letter written in Hindi.
“I pay my tribute to farmers killed in the incident and express condolences to their families,” he said in the letter.
Varun Gandhi requested CM Adityanath to “identify all suspects in the incident and take strict action against them by registering a murder case under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.”
Sources in the party said that Pilibhit MP’s stance on the incident was not taken well by the top BJP leadership.
“He projected as if the entire fault lies at the doorsteps of the leaders. We are awaiting the investigation report and believe that incident was unfortunate. He should have been patient at a time when the entire opposition is targeting the party,” said a senior BJP leader, according to a media report.
However, a senior leader from Uttar Pradesh said that it is the prerogative of the party President JP Nadda to decide who to admit to the national executive council and claimed that they had been replaced by equally able leaders from the state.
“There are other senior leaders from UP who have become part of the council in their place. There are atleast ten. They must have lost their utility or relevance. We have seen the statements of the son on various occasions. It is after all the party’s decision,” added the leader.