Nehru descendant guilty of Muslim hate crime
Tuesday 24 March 2009
India's main opposition party has said it will stand by a great-grandson of the country's first prime minister in forthcoming elections, even after an independent body found him guilty of hate crime and urged that he not be fielded as a candidate.
In a move that will be seized on by its rivals, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said it will continue to support Varun Gandhi as its candidate for a constituency in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
The 29-year scion of the Nehru dynasty was condemned by India's election commission following a speech two weeks ago in which he threatened to "cut the throats" of Muslims.
As the speech was repeatedly replayed on television, Mr Gandhi claimed the tapes had been altered, and he was the victim of a conspiracy. But he pointedly refused to apologise.
The election commission said there was no evidence the recording had been doctored. It found his speech – in which Mr Gandhi compared a political rival to Osama bin Laden – had also incited violence against Muslims. It said that if the BJP stood by Mr Gandhi, it 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".
In a bid for power following its surprise defeat in 2004, the right-wing BJP sought to reposition itself, and reach out to centrist voters. However, yesterday party officials said they would continue to support Mr Gandhi's nomination despite the commission's ruling.
"The commission has no authority to give such direction to a political party," said Balbir Punj, a BJP leader.
Dr Valerian Rodrigues, a political scientist at Jawaharlal Nehru University, said that despite what the BJP had said publicly, it may yet ask Mr Gandhi to stand down and replace him with his mother, Maneka Gandhi, a former MP and daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi.
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 4 Rob Lowe hits out at White House decision not to meet Israeli leader
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Rob Lowe hits out at White House decision not to meet Israeli leader
Syrian refugee child beaten by Istanbul Burger King manager for eating customer’s leftover food
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
David Cameron says anyone criticising Eric Pickles' letter to Muslims 'really has a problem'
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...
£25000 - £28000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: PHP Web...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in London, Manchester, Br...