Varun Gandhi gets apex court notice for poll speeches

New Delhi, Dec 2 (IANS) The Supreme Court Friday issued a notice to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Varun Gandhi on a petition challenging his election from the Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency in 2009 on the ground that he delivered inflammatory speeches during the campaign.

An apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S.S. Nijjar issued the notice after senior counsel M.N. Krishnamani said that before and even after filing his nomination papers, Gandhi delivered vituperative speeches targeting the Muslim and Sikh communities.

Appearing for petitioner V.M. Singh, Krishnamani told the court that Gandhi in his provocative speeches described one community as Pakistani and the other as Khalistani.

‘It was too much,’ the senior counsel told the court. V.M. Singh was the Congress candidate against Gandhi from Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh.

The petitioner moved the apex court, challenging the Allahabad High Court’s verdict of Sep 14 by which it rejected his plea to set aside Gandhi’s election.

Krishnamani told the apex court that the high court rejected the election petition by V.M. Singh ‘despite the fact that the incendiary hate speeches by Varun Gandhi that shocked the conscience of the nation’.

Krishnamani told the court that Section 123(1) of the Representation of the People Act dealing with corrupt practices required interpretation.

He told the court that corrupt practices included not merely offering of bribe, gifts or promises by the candidate or his agent.

The senior counsel contended that Gandhi continued with his provocative speeches even after the filing of the nomination papers.

The court was told that though an election petition under the statute should be decided in six months, the high court was hearing the plea in this case for the last almost one year.

The petition said Gandhi referred to the Muslim community by a derogatory term and abused his own religion as well by stating repeatedly and with relish that he would cut off both hands of the people who raised them against the Hindus.

‘He exhorted the Hindus in the name of Bhagwad Gita to vote for him so that Indian Muslims could not create another Pakistan,’ the petition said.