NEW DELHI: Varun Gandhi faces the darkest hour of his career, fighting alone allegations of having been honey-trapped by defence dealer Abhishek Verma and leaking defence secrets. Varun’s close aides claim he is victim of a political conspiracy from within.
“Serious allegations were leveled against Sushma Swaraj and Vasundhara Raje over corruption in the Lalit Modi scandal. The party left them to face the charges on their own. Varun is in a similar situation,” said a close aide.
Speaking exclusively to Express, Abhishek Verma said that the leaked photographs of the MP are ‘morphed and forged by professionals’.
“I know Varun from his childhood days. I’m from a political family and grew up with many who are politicians now. There is no question of blackmailing Varun or any lawmaker,” Verma said. Entitlement claims in poll bound Uttar Pradesh haven’t endeared the MP to the discipline conscious BJP leadership. Said a family source, “A man’s personal life is his own. Its not relevant to politics.”
Varun Gandhi’s lone range role in Uttar Pradesh is not appreciated in the highly structured BJP. Before the Defence leaks controversy rose, Varun Gandhi had on Tuesday handed over 28 newly-constructed houses to the poor in various villages in Sultanpur, his Lok Sabha constituency.
“Out of his MP’s salary over the past seven years, Gandhi is funding construction of 100 houses for the poor. Another 72 houses will be handed over. He spends his whole salary on their welfare,” said an aide of the BJP MP. Party workers said the people of Sultanpur, which was represented by Sanjay Gandhi in the Lok Sabha, look upon the son as the heir to his father’s political legacy.
“Neither Maneka-ji nor Varun need the BJP banner to win from the two Lok Sabha constituencies. This gives them a larger political clout, which the current BJP leadership dislikes,” added an aide.
Gandhi, however, restricted himself to releasing a two-page long “letter to my countrymen” in which he trashed all charges, saying he had never attended any meeting of the Parliamentary consultative committee on defence.
“No defence secrets are otherwise shared by Ministry of Defence in such meetings. I neither sought any information from the ministry. Therefore, there is no question of leaking any secrets,” Varun noted in his letter.
His close aide also noted that he last met Abhishek Verma when Varun was just 19 years old. “He was nobody at that time, while he will soon turn 37 years old. You may imagine the trauma and agony of his wife and little daughter. This is all dirty politics,” said the close aide.
Varun Gandhi had been fancying his chances to become the BJP’s poll face in UP before Amit Shah reorganised the party structure in the state before in 2014 general elections. Even after reading the writing on the wall, Varun continued campaigning in the state in an independent fashion.
During the National Executive meeting of the BJP in June, Varun’s supporters had put up hoardings declaring him as the only CM face of the party. Sources said, the BJP chief had expressed his serious distaste for such open lobbying.
Party leaders note that Gandhi will have to see himself through “the biggest test” of his political career on his own. “For the record, no parliamentary papers or information were very provided by Varun Gandhi to me” said Abhishek Verma.
He alleged that C. Edmonds Allen, Verma’s former US attorney with whom he fell out over a property dispute had forged the documents and alleged that the lawyer is working at the behest of some powerful and influential politicians.