Allahabad: BJP MP Varun Gandhi on Sunday landed
in a fresh controversy with TV footages showing him garlanding
the statue of Chadrashekhar Azad with his footwear on.
The Congress attacked him for showing disregard to the
legendary freedom fighter, saying it showed the "culture of a
party which swore by cultural nationalism" even as the BJP
sought to underplay the issue saying that it was a "result of
The Pilibhit MP, whose alleged hate speech had raised a
political storm last year, arrived at the Bamrauli airport
here this morning from where he left for Jaunpur by road for
addressing a BJP rally.
Before leaving the city, Gandhi got down at Candrashekhar
Azad Park, the historic site where the revolutionary had
attained martyrdom, to garland a life-size statue of Azad
installed at the very place where the legendary freedom
fighter had laid down his life.
Later, TV news channels telecast footages showing that
Gandhi had garlanded the statue with his footwear on,
notwithstanding instructions given on plaques erected
When asked to comment, Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee
Vice-President Shekhar Bahuguna said, "This shows the culture
prevailing in the party that swears by cultural nationalism.
Certainly, the MP would have behaved differently had he been
in the Congress".
However, former state BJP chief and former Speaker of
Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha Keshri Nath Tripathi dismissed the
incident as "result of an oversight" and criticised the
Congress for "making an issue out of a trivial matter".
"While surrounded by a crowd, you can lose sight of what
is written on plaques. I am sure none of the people at the
spot, including mediapersons, had cared to remove their
footwear. If the Congress chooses to make an issue out of
this, it will only demonstrate its own petty mindset," he