BJP MP Varun Gandhi on Thursday lashed out at one of his party’s most ardent supporters – actor Kangana Ranaut – for her remarks that India got its freedom in 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power and what it got in 1947 after a decades-long struggle by freedom fighters was “bheekh” or handout.
Mr Gandhi, who has lately been voicing discordant notes that have earned him a censure or two by the party, posted a short clip of Ms Ranaut’s remarks an event organised by television channel Times Now in which she is heard saying in Hindi, “That was not freedom but bheekh, and the real freedom came in 2014.”
Ms Ranaut, who was given the Padma Shri award by PM Modi’s government this month, was understood to have been referring to the BJP coming to power in 2014.
The 34-year-old who stands banned on microblogging platform Twitter over her incendiary right-wing commentary has spawned many a controversy in the past.
Slamming her, Varun Gandhi tweeted in Hindi, “Insulting the sacrifice of Mahatma Gandhi sometimes, praising his killer sometimes, and now the disdain for the sacrifices of Mangal Pandey, Rani Laxmibai, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and lakhs of freedom fighters. Should I call this thinking madness or treason?”
Last month, Varun Gandhi was dumped from his party’s National Executive after calling for justice for the families of farmers killed in UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri, and speaking out in support of other farmers protesting the centre’s new laws.
Seemingly in no mood to back down, Mr Gandhi had needled his party by tweeting an undated video of (a very young-looking) Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in which the late former Prime Minister warns the government against intimidating farmers.
A member of the Nehru-Gandhi family that controls the opposition Congress, Varun Gandhi and his mother joined the BJP in 2004 just months before the party went out of power but are believed to have fallen out of favour with the leadership in recent years.