BJP MP’s remarks are being seen as a dig at his cousin Rahul Gandhi facing flak for ‘defaming the nation on foreign soil’.

NEW DELHI: BJP MP Varun Gandhi is in the headlines again. He has turned down the Oxford Union’s invitation to speak at a debate on whether India is on the right path under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he sees no merit or integrity in voicing domestic challenges at an international forum.
In other words, Varun Gandhi suggests that he is against anyone critical of the country’s internal problems on the foreign soil, in what is being viewed as a dig at his cousin, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. He has tweeted that subjecting India’s choices and challenges to international scrutiny “is a dishonourable act” to him.
In fact, the invite to Varun Gandhi was sent by the office of Matthew Dick, President of the Oxford Union, to speak on the motion “This House Believes Modi’s India is on the Right Path”. Varun’s decision to turn down the Oxford Union’s invitation has triggered a massive political debate in various quarters of the country, with political pundits coming up with different interpretations of the development.
In fact, Varun has hit multiple targets with one arrow. He has taken a dig at Rahul Gandhi, although without naming him. Varun’s message is that he will not miss any chance to give Rahul Gandhi a befitting reply. “I have declined the invitation for a debate at the Oxford Union. India’s polity regularly offers us a space to critique and provide constructive suggestions to improve our policies.” These observations by Varun Gandhi assume significance in the context of the messaging by him to Rahul Gandhi.
At the same time, the MP from Pilibhit has given a message to his own party that he will not hesitate to call a spade a spade. Varun has been critical of several measures of the Modi government. He has been highlighting issues like price rise, unemployment, problems of the youth and farmers, etc. However, the BJP MP has targeted neither the Prime Minister nor any other party leader directly any time in the past.
In view of Varun Gandhi criticising the government policies, the media has been agog with speculation about the Pilibhit MP planning to switch over to the Congress. At one point, this question was put to Rahul Gandhi as well. The Gandhi scion then gave such a reply which could have been avoided. Rahul Gandhi had in fact scotched all speculations about Varun’s possible entry into the Congress. Rahul Gandhi’s reply ruling out the possibility of Varun Gandhi’s entry into the Congress was astonishing as the BJP MP had neither quit the party nor expressed any desire to join the grand old party. A large section of the party in fact wanted Varun Gandhi to be in the Congress, saying that his entry will strengthen the party. They got disappointed after Rahul Gandhi’s reply. However, Varun Gandhi never made any negative remarks against Rahul Gandhi after that. But whatever he said while declining the invitation from Oxford was nothing short of a big setback to Rahul Gandhi and the Congress. Varun Gandhi’s remarks have come at a time when Rahul Gandhi is already in the line of fire from BJP for the statements that the Gandhi scion made abroad. While the Congress is defending Rahul Gandhi, the BJP is insisting on an apology from him, saying that the Gandhi scion has defamed the nation on foreign soil.
The government must be pleased with Varun Gandhi’s “much-needed” observations which could not have come at a more appropriate time than this when the BJP has stepped up attack on Rahul Gandhi for his objectionable comments on foreign soil. Political observers are at the same time asking whether or not Varun will quit the BJP. This is the hot topic being discussed and debated in political circles. But Varun Gandhi is tight-lipped about his future course of action.