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Publishers woo Varun, BJP maintains distance


Pallavi Ghosh,CNN-IBN
Apr 18, 2009 at 03:36am IST

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New Delhi: After the stormy ride to a fortnight of freedom, it was a calm spring morning for BJP leader Varun Gandhi on Friday.

One of his first visitors at his Delhi home was a publisher, and no BJP leader.

The party, which was expected to make Varun the main attraction in its bouquet of leaders, is suddenly treating him more as a thorn in its side, unlike the publisher.

“We will be happy to publish his works, it could be anything. Maybe about his time in jail,” Rupa Publishing and Co’s Ruchi said.

Three weeks in jail has turned the firebrand mellow. His hands are still raised high but this time not to strike. Meanwhile, for the BJP it is a tightrope walk.

Varun can possibly polarise the Hindu vote but only at the cost of alienating others. The BJP is clearly unwilling to be an untouchable at this time of coalitions.

“He will fight from Pilibhit. And the rest he will help us campaign wherever there's a demand,” BJP leader Balbir Punj said.

Varun has preferred to keep silence after coming out of jail, wanting to be the interpreter of his own words.

He clarified his position in a written release: “I welcome the Supreme Court decision and I hope we will be vindicated by the highest court in all other cases. Let me make it clear that I did not speak out against any religion. I only want to fight terrorist forces.”

Varun may have thanked the BJP for its support in the written statement but his party seems to be cautious in welcoming a saffron Gandhi. While he is hot property for publishers, his party seems to have developed cold feet in making him the star campaigner.

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