Varun Gandhi: Man To Watch In BJP-UP

Varun, by remaining silent on the BJP action against him but at the same time remaining unperturbed and active, has shown that he is no pushover, observe Sunil Gatade and Venkatesh Kesari.

As the Modi dispensation 2.0 finishes half its term amid the farm bills fiasco, Varun Gandhi is slowly but surely emerging as the man to watch in the BJP.

Ironically, it is Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi who has knowingly or unknowingly drawn the spotlight on the 41-year-old youngest member of the Gandhi-Nehru family who is on the other side of the political fence of the Congress party.

Modi and Home Minister Amit Anilchandra Shah who call the shots in the BJP, dubbed by its loyalists as the largest political party in the world, thought it fit to dump Varun totally, completely and thoroughly.

Varun was a BJP national general secretary during Rajnath Singh’s party president and his slide began when Shah took over.

Only recently, he was dropped from the BJP national executive along with his mother Maneka Gandhi by current party president Jagat Prakash Nadda.

Everyone who is anyone in the BJP knows well that Nadda is not his own man and just the chosen one for the top party job by Modi.

After five years in the Modi Cabinet since 2014, Maneka had not found a place in the ministry during Modi’s second term since May 2019.

Varun’s exclusion from the BJP national executive sent a signal that anyone speaking in favour of the farmers’s agitation against the controversial farm laws would be persona non grata in the party.

With Modi’s surprise announcement on the repeal of the farm bills, Varun stands vindicated.

For the BJP top brass, the real problem is Varun is not just an individual leader, but carries the Nehru brand with him.

As the late Sanjay Gandhi’s only child, he has the political stamina to get going when things get hot. He has been raising the right questions on issues — whether it is the farmer’s agitation or the Kangana Ranaut controversy.

The young Gandhi has been with the BJP through thick and thin.

On Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s advice, Varun was brought into the BJP by Pramod Mahajan when Rahul Gandhi became active in politics.

Since 2009, Varun has won all the three Lok Sabha elections with good margins and is among a handful of leaders who have won from both Western and Eastern UP.

Another leader who was dropped from the BJP national executive is Dr Subramanian Swamy who has often spoken about the sorry state of the economy, Chinese incursions and Beijing’s big brotherly attitude.

Dr Swamy, 82, has remained a controversial figure inside the BJP as he was shown the door during the Vajpayee-L K Advani era and brought back into the party before 2014 despite Arun Jaitley’s opposition.

Dr Swamy, who was nominated to the Rajya Sabha, has been longing for a key ministerial berth and his Rajya Sabha term ends next year.

With elections in five states including Uttar Pradesh scheduled for early next year, the issue of unity within the BJP has taken precedence when pre-poll surveys including some by party faithful, show that the Modi-Shah party is not on firm ground.

Reports had it that the BJP has set up an internal committee on how to deal with Varun with a section favouring that the young leader needed to be accommodated lest it damages the party.

In various pre-poll surveys in 2017, Varun was shown as the most popular chief ministerial face in the BJP. The BJP had contested those polls without projecting any leader.

Varun, in his own way, has often spoken about governance in Uttar Pradesh at a time when an ambitious Yogi Adityanath is angling for a second term and is being projected as a ‘dumdar‘ chief minister.

One thing is certain — 2022 is not 2017 in UP.

Varun, by remaining silent on the BJP action against him but at the same time remaining unperturbed and active, has shown that he is no pushover.

As the political clock starts ticking ahead of the UP polls, both Modi and Shah know that Varun cannot remain silent for long because he does not feel insecure in politics.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/Rediff.com

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