New Delhi: Even as the BJP moves into high campaign gear for the Lok Sabha elections with major rallies each day, the party has ruled out using Varun Gandhi as one of its star campaigner saying he was not a national level leader.
“Varun Gandhi may be a national leader for the media but is not a national leader for the BJP,” party spokesperson Balbir Punj said when asked whether Gandhi, who is in the midst of a storm for his alleged inflammatory speeches in Pilibhit, was one of the party’s star campaigners.
Punj said the party has decided the names of six top leaders for its national campaign.
“No, Varun Gandhi is not a star campaigner of BJP. Why are you not asking about other leaders as star campaigners?” Punj asked.
The party has decided that BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L K Advani, party chief Rajnath Singh, Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, senior leaders M Venkaiah Naidu, Arun Jaitely and Sushma Swaraj will be the national campaigners, he said.
“Varun Gandhi is welcome to campaign to the extent that there is demand for him by various people contesting the elections,” he added.
Meanwhile, party sources said that Gandhi is likely to court arrest in Pilibhit on Saturday. His anticipatory bail granted by the Delhi High Court expires on Friday.
Hitting at Congress for its opinion on the Varun Gandhi episode, Punj said there was a “lot of hypocrisy” in the Congress attitude on the issue of secularism.
“Taukir Ali Khan of Ittehadul-e-Millat council had announced an award of a huge amount for beheading a Danish cartoonist. On Thursday, he was welcomed into Congress. So the Congress’ commitment to secularism is a total shame,” he charged
To a question whether there was unrest within NDA with its ally JD(U) raising objections to Gandhi’s inflammatory speech, Punj replied in the negative.
“It is necessary to understand that we are constituents of NDA but we are all separate parties with different programmes. We have agreement on some essentials and we have different perception, different nuisances on various issue,” he said.