29 Mar :Varun Gandhi has surrendered before a local court in connection with a case against him for hate speeches after which he was arrested and sent to judicial remand till Monday.
Amid high drama, Gandhi, who left his home in Delhi in the wee hours, arrived in Pilibhit to a tumultuous welcome from a large number of BJP workers and saffron activists who clashed with police violating prohibitory orders in force.
Lawyers of 29-year-old Gandhi against whom three cases have been filed for allegedly making inflammatory communal speeches during his election campaign, filed a surrender plea before Chief Judicial Magistrate Vipin Kumar.
"This is a conspiracy in which I have been framed. I have full faith in the law and in the judiciary. I believe in my principles and I am willing to fight for them… I am ready to go to jail," Gandhi after reaching the town from where he is making his electoral debut.
After the Allahabad High Court rejected his petition for quashing the FIR against him, Gandhi changed his strategy and did not seek for extension of bail granted by the Delhi High Court and preferred to court arrest.
In the CJM’s court, his lawyers immediately filed a bail application on which hearing has been deferred till Monday after the prosecution sought time.The throng of supporters attempted to block police from taking Gandhi to the district jail and later threw stones in the jail compound.
Wearing a red-coloured kurta, Varun was greeted by a large number of BJP supporters carrying saffron flags."The only objective of my coming here is to strengthen my people, my society and the whole country…..I will not step back. If by my going to jail people get the strength to stand by their principles, I am ready to do so," he said amid slogans raised in his support.
Ahead of the BJP candidate’s arrival, party workers and saffron activists clashed with the police.Supporters shouting ‘jai Shri Ram’ tried to block roads to prevent the movement of police leading to a minor clash between the two sides.
A large number of activists with saffron flags hailing Varun came in tractors, autorickshaws and buses to the town.BJP’s incharge of polls for Uttar Pradesh, Kalraj Mishra, said he was here to observe the situation.
"I am only observing the situation… I am also seeing to that there should be no violation of the code of conduct," he said.BJP spokesperson Balbir Punj said in Delhi that "Varun Gandhi is responding as a political worker who has a public support base to respond".
Congress criticised BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani for keeping "silent" on the Varun issue and said without his consent, this "drama" could not be enacted.
Varun courting arrest an act as per the law: BJP
With BJP candidate from Pilibhit Varun Gandhi courting arrest over his recent hate speeches, the saffron party termed it as an "act as per the law".
"The law has been followed. How can someone stop an individual from following the rule of the land," party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said on Saturday.
The party’s reaction came after Congress leader Kapil Sibal alleged that Varun Gandhi courting arrest in Pilibhit was a preplanned drama.
"Varun Gandhi is following what is prescribed in the law. He himself has said that the tapes circulated in the media are doctored and he do not support hatred towards any community," Javadekar said when asked if the party stands by him in the whole episode.
Party leader Kalraj Mishra, who is also BJP’s incharge of elections in Uttar Pradesh, has been asked by the central leadership to oversee the situation.
Meanwhile, a court in Pilibhit on Saturday remanded Gandhi to judicial custody till Monday.