Varun Gandhi – politics of “hate” from politician of tomorrow?

March 20, 2009

The black sheep of India’s most powerful political dynasty or a young politician making his own way in that family’s most potent political rival?

Call him what you will, Varun Gandhi is grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons in an episode that could embarrass his Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party at the start of a general election campaign.

The great-grandson of India’s founding father, Jawaharlal Nehru, was allegedly caught out making inflammatory comments against Muslims at a recent rally.

Local TV news channels are daily replaying clips in which he is alleged to have said the hands of those who threatened Hindus should be cut off, and going on to make crude comparisons between a rival Muslim candidate and Osama bin Laden.

India’s election commission will now monitor every speech Gandhi makes in the run up to the polls. To add insult to injury, Gandhi has since been accused of dishing out money to voters in his Pilibhit constituency in Uttar Pradesh state.

But the man himself stood defiant and said video clips of his speech had been doctored for political gain.

“That is a conspiracy, that is not my voice, those are not my words,” he said, but refused to name the likely conspirators.

The political lives of Gandhi and his cousin Rahul make for lip-smacking contrasts. Rahul’s mother, Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born head of the Congress party whom many see as wielding the real power in government, has long groomed her son to be a future prime minister.

Congress leaders openly say Rahul’s rise to the top is a matter of when not if. Varun, who faces a criminal investigation into his alleged comments, presents his party with a fiery alternative to Rahul, but enjoys precious few benefits from his famous name.

Unlike most of the Nehru-Gandhi line, Varun joined the BJP. His mother fell out with slain former prime minister Indira Gandhi and drifted towards Congress’ main rival at the end of the nineties.

In the dynasty vs dynasty game, Congress promotes Rahul as the natural heir to his father Rajiv Gandhi, the country’s youngest ever prime minister who governed when a young India began its rise on the global stage.

In contrast, the BJP wants to position Varun as the only Gandhi who can uphold the ideals that Indira stood for, especially toughness on internal security and military prestige.

The BJP has in the past been accused of stoking tensions between Hindus and Muslims to pander to its large Hindu vote base. Comparisons between Varun Gandhi and Narendra Modi are inevitable.

Some have not forgiven the Chief Minister of Gujarat, regarded as one of the BJP’s most capable politicians, for what they saw as his quiet complicity in communal riots in his state in 2002 that left more than 2000 people, mostly Muslims, dead.

“Another Modi is rising. There is no necessary to apology, he told real situation,” reads one reader’s comment on an article on Gandhi in the Economic Times newspaper.

“Varun is among the few bold younger politicians taking the bull by the horns. The majority (Hindus) must have at least an equal say in their own country. But we are ruled by minorities with an Italian to boot,” said another.

Another thing Gandhi said this week in the midst of the row caught my eye. “I am a Gandhi, a Hindu and an Indian in equal measure,” he was quoted as saying.

Where had I heard such words before? The charismatic young Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, a friend of Rahul’s, delivered a barnstorming speech in parliament last year in defence of secularism.

“I am a Muslim and I am an Indian, and I see no distinction between the two.”

Whereas Abdullah’s speech was widely praised and became an instant YouTube hit, the question is what the future now holds for Gandhi’s fledgling political career.


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

I really don’t think the tapes have been doctored. It’s just a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease. Varun may be in the limelight this week but he won’t be anywhere in the spotlight after the polls. And I guess all this is just giving him some much needed publicity — and that can’t be too bad, can it?

Posted by Toe Knee | Report as abusive

In the little speech i herd on TV, he never mentioned any religion other than Hindutva..the crude comparision of his opponent to Bin laden was laughable though..
this shows his inexperience in addressing a huge crowd…he will learn with time..he is just 28..India will need many such people with fire to fight with in..Good luck to Varun..I hope he makes it to Delhi !!

As far as distributing money..Sonia gandhi is a bigger culprit when her party and its alliess were caught red handed on a tape bribing elected MPs after the nuclear deal.Nobody took any serious action..did they ?? IF Varun spends money to secure votes..he is atleast giving it to public.who will need it..unlike congress and allies.

Posted by Anitha | Report as abusive

Grandfather was a Parsi ( Feroz),

Grandmother (Indira) was a hindu
makes his dad (sanjay) a half hindu/ half parsi and finally his mom is a sikh.

Not going into a serious genetic mapping, a quick glance of above data confirms his pedigree at best is one fourth hindu and one half sikh and one fourth Parsi.
He was english educated, with mother being an animal activist, and was raised in sikh families.
Ever can I call him a hindu fanatic, give me a break.
Campaign conspiracies in india are comparable to those of US elections these days. Tapes are doctored.

Congress party should go, said even the illustrious French scribe who made India his homeland.
Congress has produced the most corrupt politicians in the country. The sycophants are restless to anoint the yuvraj rahul for their own good.

Posted by azaddp | Report as abusive

Varun Gandhi does not stand for the truth being subjected to ‘Political Correctness’. He has a power, that has Congress and Rajid Gandhi’s offspring, willing to do all they can to stop him. Personally, I am sure, he will, eventually, lead India, even, perhaps be a future influencer, of world events. Better in his hands, than those who believe ‘Political Correctness, to be more important than the truth.

Posted by robin march | Report as abusive

It is funny how the secularism is represented in India. When a party (read muslim party) allows only muslim to join no one calls it as anti-secular party at the same time the blogger didnt take even split second to mention BJP as hindu nationalist party?? How ??? There are many muslims supporting the party and in fact working in the party. Stop campaigning for Congress I would say so.
Secondly what happened in Godhra is really bad at the same time lets not blame a particular religion for it. The muslims were involved in the burning of the train and Hindus responded to it. The bottom line is “Our system failed” and most of Congress supporters will ignore this. Why the blogger didnt mention about the Delhi riots ? why Congress is not termed anti-secular ? it is becoming a fashion to bash hindus in India and which is giving rise to caste and religion politics and NDA (under Bajpayee) is only party to contest with development agenda has lost badly !! who is to be blamed? Me , you and people like our author who has one sided logic and requires to practice the dictionary to understand the meaning of secularism.

Posted by SR | Report as abusive

Varun is speaking like a neo convert who proclaims to be holier than thou. His mother who claims to be an animal activist and advocates against cruelty towards animals has a son who swears to kill fellow human beings. Not too good for maneka. And what about his political masters who have disowned him like he is some outcast./

Posted by asp | Report as abusive

Varun Gandhi says:
@”That is a conspiracy, that is not my voice, those are not my words,” Gandhi told Times Now news channel in New Delhi.
“They have taken my speech, they have twisted it so badly that it makes me look like I’m attacking Muslims.”

—I am sure every activity is recorded by Varun Gandhi and his aides and he will have “un-doctored” tape, if that exists. In that case, they should have uploaded the “un-doctored” speech (if they recorded) on Youtube and elsewhere within minutes after this became a big issue or by now (or did I miss anything?). Point is what he said is most likely are his own word. The person can get carried away by standing on the stage and tasting the power over masses. That level of immaturity is not allowed from howsoever young the guy is. Slip of tongue is another case, but since Varun Gandhi went on and on with his promise of doing Blah….., it is inexcusable. He is not immature but played a calculated move to earn the votes and the move has worked. It will be interesting if more than one person has recorded it (cell phone etc) then “doctoring” theory will fail.

I wish he uses the same aggressiveness by saying in better words, but when would we Indians learn that art.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Varun Gandhi is a newbie in Politics. Such unprofessional behavior is acceptable. But What about the so called seasoned congress MPs Imran Kidwai and MP Antuley. These are matured cases of foot mouth disease.

Posted by Knee Toe | Report as abusive

Varun is not secular,and his agenda too. God didn’t provide tongue to speak as you like. One day he will be facing in front of GOD whom he believes. Think of that day Mr. varun Gandhi.

Posted by sea | Report as abusive

It very clearly seems that the tapes are Doctored . Probably the main stream political party who own the Brand “Gandhi” , doesnt want another Gandhi to rise . All this is done to prove that gandhi is a copyright and any other Gandhi ,who can be a potential challenge would not be allowed to grow . Since India can never have a PM who has been charged of spreading communal feelings, varun is falsely charged with “Inciting communal feelings” charges , which would always follow him in career .

Posted by Pranam | Report as abusive

I really do not know what the fuzz is all about
You allow suspected convicts to fight the elections. In fact every party nominates many.The constitution gives you the right of free speech.The electorate is considered aware and intelligent and know how to make up their own mind. Yet you force a guy who has exercised this right not to participate as a candidate. Is this what democracy all about. Look at La Pen or Ian Paisley abroad. It is obvious to me our democracy is a sham This confirms it

Posted by nano nari | Report as abusive

Goondas,anti socials,so called pseudo nationalists and plain convicts contest the big tamasha called the Indian election. On top of that we pride ourselves as the biggest democracy. Yet Varun’s speech is considered hate speech. Perhaps our legal minds have a selective interpretation of the constitution. As all of us are aware most politicians are incompetent nuts who do not deserve to be our elected representatives. I think we deserve those imbeciles since we never speak up for our rights to elect competent people

Posted by nano nari | Report as abusive

secularism , my foot We as a nation bend over backwards to accommodate minorities. We allow them to carry processions on every pretext, engage in anti India rhetoric and give them judicial protection, clemency and what not. But if a candidate indulges in vitriolic rhetoric and he happens to bea Hindu he is ostracised by one and all What a joke

Posted by nano nari | Report as abusive

Minorities must be treated well in this country.Muslims are present all over the world,with a huge population than hindutvas.Its very unfair to make indian muslims to leave the nation,and some relegious parties threatening them.2002 Godhra issue was a good example of how muslims are treated in this country.Secular government like congress can find harmony in all communities of people.Treat everyone as your brothers and sisters and live in harmony.

Posted by Roshan | Report as abusive

Infalamatory speach of varun ghandi is not acceptable in the morden society and in the india there is no need such person and comment. we should investigate that what is behind it. I feel that this is the story of young blood who never belive in long time struggle.

Posted by gaurav tiwari | Report as abusive

I think Indian people, both minorities & Hindus have to understand this complex world. When anybody talk about India and Indian people, should includes Indian muslims at our side, Indian muslims are very unique and very Indian. There is nothing wrong to say or protect your own religion but you have to be very clear and specific about it. I believe in India there are bad people are every where and every community. If you want to protect Hinduism, first we all should target bad Indian political leaders who get help from across the boarder and ugly enemies to achieve their goals. Work on curruptions which make everyones life a hell.

Posted by Kirit | Report as abusive

Secularism in India is tolerance of Hindus. If congress or Other Parties want to make Muslim Vote Bank while Hurting Hidu Sentiments The Sooner or Later , The Problem of Castism will come to an end. That is what is needed. So that Hidus could gather and get united to Insure their Rights. And not get converted from Majority to Minority. In which other Non Islamic country Muslims get so much of Help from Govt than in India , And where does Hindus get so much of Privilage in a Muslim Country than Muslims in India.
Personally I think Varun is a coming Thunder which cant be stopped , We Hidus should HAIL him.

Posted by Sumantr | Report as abusive

It was quite surprising to see the biased reaction by a section of the media and political parties to a speech because it was primarily directed to protect the rights of “Hindus”. It seems the word “Hindu” has become a word the very mention of which amounts to criminal offence.
Someday we are going to pay for this, but it may be loo late.

Posted by A. Ghose | Report as abusive

Varun Gandhi is not the first politician to have given a hate speech.However his Gandhi surname makes everyone expect better standards from him than what he is currently showing.Politics of hate will always harm a plural society as us and this speech is no exception.

Posted by Alok | Report as abusive

only 2 wors “We Support” Carun

Posted by Avinash | Report as abusive

Nehru was not founding father of Nation. But he was one who divided the country on relegious line, and created problem in Kashmir. Because of his wrong policies China has aquired Indian territory.

Posted by Sunil | Report as abusive

please dont target varun as he said he was a hindu.please stop hindu bashing in the name of secularism.if cds are doctored or original let law take its own course.why trial by media?why does media suddenly get aactive to denounce hindus.all parties do didnot even show the hate speech of imran kidwai.when will hindu hate stop

Posted by advaita | Report as abusive


Posted by HARESH | Report as abusive

I am so thrilled to see that at least ONE PERSON of the majority group has a voice! Come on guys, wake up, lets majority rule the country! Aren’t we ashamed of getting ruled by foreigners, before the independance and AFTER too?

Posted by Vrinda Pandav | Report as abusive

now a days these politicians are using religions for there votes. Ok if anythg wrong happens between any religion n hindu will he really come to save us. all these politicians knows to play with sentiments of Indian whether its varun gandhi, lallo prasad yadav, amar singh, raj thacarey or anyone else. they are doing all these for vote bank. during festivals hindu muslims are bhai bhai, they help each other but when any politicians says anything in favour of 1 religion then that bhaichar turns into enimity. Why we Indians forget that now we are educated people? why we still dont use our brain? why we get influenced by thse dirty mind? why we forget when we are born we are 1st human being after that we come 2 know we belong to this language/caste/religion,etc. They play there games for vote bank and we become there puppet. we are idiots with knowledge. We praise shahrukh khan , amir khan for performance, pathan brothers 4 their blowing n batting at that time we forget thay are muslims at that time we feel thy r indians thn why we discriminate afterwards.I hink we all should start our schooling educaton again and get some moral science values. no religion teaches 2 fight. These politicians are using the same rule british had used (divide n rule). Its time to wake up n think properly. We are Indian and humanity is our religion.

Posted by indian | Report as abusive

Whatever Varun has told is unfortunate, but whatever happened after that is more unfortunate.

I am unable to understand our politics and their double standard. If Muslim league or SIMI would have not been taken as secular speech. But comments of Varun Gandhi, candidate of BJP, is taken as communal.

In democracy everyone has right to say. It means everyone even majorities also. We should not debate on this matter and should leave this topic for politicians, so they can earn some votes on that.

Posted by Gyandeep Mittal | Report as abusive

great bhai par ye baat to karne wali hai kahne wali nahi

Posted by krishan | Report as abusive

Varun, we are so proud of you. You are a future to the country. You have achieved what no one could. We do not need 1 or 2 medals. We need a leader like you. I am a Proud Indian, standing by you.

Posted by Anil Mehta | Report as abusive

why is varun saying that tapes are doctored? does he not agree with what is being shown in these recordings on various channels. these words are winning him so many fans. be bold varun and accept you have said all that otherwise what will happen to your fans, who will they look up to.

Posted by brijesh | Report as abusive

I think these kinds of speeches as well as discussions by the media, makes the country stronger. We start to realize that Indians are not fools and will not be taken for a ride by these Bxxxxy politicians. It is really surprising the extremely low quality of speeches made by Varun Gandhi, did he really study in a London school? It should b a shame for the london school of Economics.

Posted by Sunil Reddy | Report as abusive

it is mahatma gandhi who is the founding father of indiapro hindutva is as secular as pro minorities

Posted by parameswaran | Report as abusive

Varun has passed the first test to be a good leader. He has shown he has a spine. I wish and Hindustan well for the future.

Posted by Ajay | Report as abusive

Calling Spade a spade is not hate speech. Varun is the face of every Common Indian who think straight.

Axis of Evil headed by Congis and it’s Media should be kicked out of India.

Posted by Martian | Report as abusive

The media has been naming Mr. Vsrun Gandhi as “Hindutva hero”, “Saffron Gandhi” and stuff like that.
I would like to ask the media that if it was not Mr. Vsrun Gandhi that was making this speech, would the media have given so much importance to the story.
In fact, hate speeches take place in every nook and corner of India during elections, why is only Mr. Vsrun Gandhi given the publicity.
If indeed the allegations against Mr. Vsrun Gandhi are proved to be true, it is unfortunate coming from a young leader.
BUT….. Why is it that when a leader from the Muslim League makes anti national statements, or when an activist from SIMI threatens to “finish off” India, hardly any people get to know and why is that not discussed as much as the Varun issue has been discussed.
What is secularism by the way? Is it being pro minority and anti majority??

Posted by Sumanth | Report as abusive

Varun ia a real hero. he is a face to look upto.

Posted by Mona | Report as abusive

“If some one lifts their hand to harm Hindus , I swear by Gita that I will chop off that hand.”

Whats wrong with that ? His speech has been made in defence of his community . Who is he hating in the speech ? Where has he mentioned even once about Muslim or Islam ?
If Muslims are getting worried that the speech is directed towards them , it means that they are indeed intending to harm Hindus and dominate them . Else , why should they get worried and loose sleep ?

Posted by P.K. | Report as abusive

wats the use of india remaining secular?

minorities have a country tailor made for them. why dont they go there?

any way, a “hate speech” is way better than silent torture for ages

Posted by saffron india | Report as abusive

i m supporting varun

Posted by sagar d | Report as abusive

Going through the comments, it is really unfortunate how many Indian feel about religion even to this day. Why are we refusing to come out of this pathetic state of affairs and move onto better and more pertinent issues?

Why are we playing into the hands of these so-called “leaders”. Are we that dumb a country to cast our votes, swayed by feelings of hatred? Don’t we think we deserve better leaders then someone who tries to earn our vote by preaching hatred?

But definitely, it pains me to see how many young Indians still fall for this crap called religion?

Posted by arun | Report as abusive

Good job varun, I am supporting you.
there are many parties backing minorities for vote politics even though they are Hindu’s, this too bad . Why they are thinking like that, bcoz of their dirty politics Hindu’s are loosing they identity in Hindu country.

I belive Only BJP will re-construct the Hindu country.
Why do they need priority in Hindu country.

We don’t have reimbursements/ subsidiary for visiting our holy places any why do they need subsidiaries for visiting their holy places.

Common guys, As a normal citizen of India think how the worst politicians are emending the rules for them.

Posted by Phani | Report as abusive

Varun said a right thing but in wrong manner. Why can’t a person be proud of his religon and if every Human is same “Indian” then why these people don’t have family planning compulsory here they have a bonus..? why such “Bias-ness”in the society?

Whats wrong in Being Hindu and being proud of the same …?

Posted by Harsh | Report as abusive

we should not mix religion with politics.

Posted by Kishan | Report as abusive

varun gandhi is only politician who spoke for hindu, why politician in hidustan cannot stand for hindu. why they always talk about lefts what about major bulk of people thats HINDU. we are proud of varun gandhi

Posted by Abhi khare | Report as abusive

Well if Mr.Varun Gandhi meant whatever stuff he said and he was pointing finger at a particular religion then it’ll be totally unfair if somebody will try to justify this. But this is also the truth that he has all the qualities of a future leader. Undoubtedly he needs to learn that as a politician and as a human being also he should respect all the religions because he is now a part of Indian politics and India posess many religions. Being a chauvanist is not good at all. I hope that he’ll make Indian politics better and India a better place in future.

Posted by urvashi | Report as abusive

Sonia and rahul used their last name to their personal advantage although these people are no way related to Mohandas Gandhi. Mohandas Gandhi did not DREAM this India. He would have opposed the British to give Independence if he would have known that India will be corrupt, barbaric, unsophisticated, brutal, collaborate in crimes against humanity and discriminatory. Varun Gandhi is a TRUE INDIAN and son of Sanjay Gandhi who was nominated by Indra Gandhi. Varun will overcome all the struggles and become a leader of India.

Posted by V Siva | Report as abusive

Why people mix everything with religion? Does god create human to fight for religion? or to live in the world and enjoy his creation?. Why people are so proud of a hate speech based on religion?. If Varun is true support of Hindu religion then he can preach it. But not by inducing a hate speech. Neither any religion support hateness of human being based on religion nor the Hindu religion support it. People please wake up and know the difference and respect the fellow human being first before bringing the religion. Religion is to make the people better not worst. Bring yourself to senses. This is a my humble attempt.

Posted by Satheesh | Report as abusive

The path that Varun Gandhi followed is tested and proven to achieve short term gain. Among the Hindu communal forces we have seen rise & fall of Sadhvi Rithambra, Uma Bharti, Vinay Katiar,Dr Togadia and so on. The only person who has been able to encash communal card time & again is Narender Modi.I may be his bitter critic but I accept that he is a person with immense quality and there are only few who can match it.

Before raising his communal voice he should first develop those qualities that has made Modi a successful politician otherwise he will soon be be lost in the crowd

Posted by Shibli Fatmi | Report as abusive

Sanjai Gandhi was criticized for his nonthinking illogical rush fed by the ultra immunity of emergency. Varun Gandhi is imbibed in the immunity of extra religionism. Well, he wont make a Great Atal for sure. Its a negative surprise in the modern times.

Posted by max | Report as abusive

indeed win is win bjp should accept the defeat no matter next five years sit in opposition but the public of india select the better choice to avoid the communal roits, muslim and hindu are unique but bjp tried to break that public had swap the house of bjp l k advani will died without being prime minister breaking india is not easy bjp agenda is to make communal roits in india i think public is queit intellegent enough to select the good and bad
thanks india

Posted by qatr | Report as abusive

Dear Sir,

Can you kindly pass this message to Mr. Varun Gandhi? I don’t know how to do that. If any one of you can do that, it would be great. Thank You.


Dear Varun Gandhi,

Congratulations for your winning.

Before sharing my ideas with you, I like to tell few words about myself. I am the person interested in spiritual life. I have lived as a monk for 14 years. This is background with which these lines were written.

Somehow, I do love you. I feel that you can definitely do something great for India. I don’t know why but I do feel that.

However, I want to make clear that your statement was definitely most dangerous one, had you made that (but you say it was not….).

Now you have won. Why don’t you take it as an opportunity to undo whatever you have been quoted as saying? Why don’t you take this as a great privilege to do immense good to people of your constituency, irrespective of Hindus, or Muslims, or Christians? Please do that and see what happens. I wish that the day will come within these five years that every people in your constituency will vote for you. Every one, irrespective of their religion should love you and appreciate you is my wish.

I never believe that by hurting each other by attacking each other we can have peace in this world. By doing so we will simply destroy each other. Hindus will attack Muslims, Muslims Hindus, so on and so forth. Then that will be the best way to end this world.

What I feel is that you have immense potential to bring the people of different religious community to together. Public who may read this may laugh at it. But I feel. I feel very strongly. I feel that what has happened in the beginning of your political career is a black spot, which can bring enormous good to you in the long run. Let the day come those who wanted to destroy your political career feel envy at you. Not only that let them too start loving you for your goodness.

It will be the most wonderful day in your life and in your political carrier, (in the long run in the history of India itself) if you start bringing together people of different religions who believe in peace and harmony of mutual existence, who believe that love is the way not the hatred.

I always wonder why there is not even a single person in any political party who don’t think of splitting the votes in the name of caste, religion etc? Why? Each party looks to be absolutely communal. We are so unbelievably selfish. We are ready to do anything to keep our carrier alive. As you say there is thirst for power. Unfortunately, we are ready to do anything for that!

I don’t say that you should not have thirst for power. On the other hand, I do agree with you when you said, if any politician says I am not interested in power, he is a liar. True, he is a great liar. If politician is not interested in power, he is no more politician!

But you can use that search for power to go immense good to society and people, and the world at large. I wish you, I wish most sincerely that the day will come when you will be remembered as one of the best person who has done immense good to all sections of society irrespective of religions.

With Love and Regards,

Ps – Peace is my name.

Posted by Peace | Report as abusive

varun gandhi you are the real son of gandhi famliy. Because you are not following the trend of italy. India needs leader like you. Becasue every leader is just talking about reservation no one is talking about hindu. I.s there any reasons for hindu. Jai hindustan jai hindu.

Posted by nistha | Report as abusive