It is bad taste to refer to someone’s parentage especially if the parent in question is long dead. However, Varun Gandhi’s methods are reminiscent of the late Sanjay Gandhi. The same lack of politeness, fondness for hyperbole and even shocking words and when pushed to a corner, recourse to gathering a crowd of lumpens and shouting slogans in the name of leading a people’s movement.
However, lack of good taste does not necessarily mean lacking in political savvy. I strongly suspect Varun Gandhi has no strong views on the subject of the Muslims or frankly any views that matter on anything. Anything, except that of his place under the sun. Heir to the sidelined branch of the Family, Varun wants to measure his standing in his adopted party against Rahul in Congress. The fact that he is way down in the pecking order, rankles. So, he reacts in the only way his education and his legacy have prepared him. Create a noise, create a controversy. Court arrest. Make lots of TV appearances and give confusing statements. Love him or hate him; don’t just ignore him! If there is a more well documented case of Attention Deficit Disorder, I am yet to see one!
I suspect the only people who see through this game are his fellow politicians; both in BJP and in other parties. Their reaction has been quite muted.
For one, they recognise, quite correctly that refusing to rise to his bait is the sensible thing to do. Varun wants the spotlight. Deny him that and he returns to obscurity; a small time politician looking for a spot in the limelight. Congress can not bring himself to question his legacy because, what a can of worms that will open! Media will have a field day resurrecting Sanjay Gandhi and horror of horrors might even mention that it was Sanjay who was destined to inherit Mrs Indira Gandhi’s legacy. The rot in the Family runs deep! The BJP can not do much except have their showcase Muslim members issue statements dissociating the party from Varun’s statements. Have stronger condemnation and the Hindutva crowd gets alienated.
So, both the main parties are cautious. Their hope probably is that Varun will go and get arrested and put behind bars for a long time by the courts.