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EC holds Varun guilty, wants BJP to dump him
Quote:New Delhi: The Election Commission has found Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Varun Gandhi, who is accused of spreading hatred against Muslims, guilty of violating poll laws and will initiate criminal proceedings against him.

The Commission, which is meeting in New Delhi on Monday, has censured Varun and reprimanded him. It has advised the BJP not to give Varun a party ticket to contest polls in Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh.

The Commission’s decision is based on a video CD aired on CNN-IBN, sources say.

"The two speeches (by Varun Gandhi) contained highly derogatory references and seriously provocative language of a wholly unacceptable nature against a certain community," said the Election Commission in a 10-page document on Sunday.

"The commission considered the speeches as a grave violation of the model code of conduct, apart from amounting to promoting feelings of enmity and hatred between different classes on the ground of religion, outraging the religious feeling of a particular community, and promoting hatred and ill-will between two classes of citizens and provoking a section of the citizens to indulge in violence."

"Any sponsorship of his candidature by the BJP, or any other political party at this election, would be perceived as endorsing his unpardonable acts of inciting violence and creating feelings of enmity and hatred between different classes of citizens of India, destroying the social, democratic and plural fabric of the country," it said.

‘Varun doesn’t deserve to be a candidate’

"In the considered opinion of the (Election) Commission, the respondent (Varun) does not deserve to be a candidate in the present general elections," the Commission’s document said.

The BJP said it respected the Commission but would wait to get the document before commenting on the issue. “We have yet to receive the Election Commission's notice. We will give an official reply tomorrow (Monday),” said BJP spokesperson Siddharth Nath Singh.

“The BJP doesn’t follow divisive politics and it doesn't promote hate speeches. We respect the Election Commission but it is always the political parties which take the decision on candidates,” he said.

The Congress welcomed the Commission’s decision and said Varun deserved punishment. “I have seen the tapes and I can say even a blind person will see that it is Varun Gandhi speaking in a most rabid manner,” said Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

“The only true punishment to dissuade candidates from speaking like this is to take such kind of action,” said Singvi.

Varun, the 29-year-old son of five-time Pilibhit MP Maneka Gandhi, created a storm last week by adopting a fanatical pro-Hindu stance in his speeches.

The Commission last week served notices to Varun, BJP president Rajnath Singh and Uttar Pradesh BJP chief Ramapati Ram Tripathi to explain why they "disregarded and violated the provisions of the model code of conduct".

Varun, in his reply to the Commission on Friday, claimed the CD had been tampered with. The Commission responded by saying Varun had to prove the CD had been tampered with.

Varun has refused to apologise and told CNN-IBN in an interview he is being harassed because he spoke for Hindus. “I never made any communal statements. I went to an area in which I felt Hindus were being targeted, so I spoke in favour of the Hindu community. It is a very sad day in the Indian politics when anyone who speaks for Hindus is branded communal,” he said.

Varun has been booked under stringent laws relating to ‘promoting enmity between different groups’, ‘deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings’ and statements conducing to public mischief.
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