New Delhi, May 11 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh on Monday backed the party's Pilibhit candidate Varun Gandhi's verbal criticism of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati as also his alleged comments on sterlisation.
Singh clarified that Gandhi's comments on sterlisation were taken out of context, and added that population control must be exercised.
"Varun has clarified his comments. There must be population control. Varun's comments have been taken out of context," he said.
In an interview to the UK-based Daily Telegraph, Varun said he hoped to follow in his father''s footsteps by offering strong leadership which India has lacked for 20 years.
Claiming that politics was his destiny, the BJP candidate from Pilibhit said, "Anyone who says they have no ambition to achieve power at some stage is lying."
Besides reviving the sterilisation policy, Varun allegedly said he would also propose a bill in Parliament to introduce compulsory military service for all Indians so that Indians can "unite the country and overcome caste and religious differences".
"Instead of people thinking of themselves as Tamils or Brahmins, they should think of themselves as Indians," the Daily Telegraph quoted him, as saying.
Varun denied making threatening remarks against Muslims, but he admitted that he vowed to protect local people from "anti-social" elements after three local girls were reportedly gang-raped.
The Daily Telegraph, however, later clarified that he (Varun) favours a "softer approach" to family planning.
The paper's South Asia Editor, Dean Nelson, who interviewed Gandhi, said that Gandhi had told him that he wants to take up the issue of population control but that he believes the earlier policy was implemented in a roughshod manner.
He favours a softer approach of positive incentives such as financial benefits for those who choose to have smaller families, Nelson said in his clarification.
The newspaper also amended its earlier report on the website quoting Gandhi as saying that while the methods used by the government at that time were "roughshod" and considered by many to be "too forceful", he believed India's population required urgent action.
In so far as the imposition of the National Security Act on him was concerned, Varun said that when a court in Uttar Pradesh had ruled the step as illegal, it was a slap on the face of Mayawati and the UPA Government at the Centre.
"If I am a Hindu and have talked about Hindutva then what crime have I committed," the 29-year-old, who is out on parole after nearly three weeks in detention following his alleged inflammatory speeches, asked at election rallies in his constituency here.
"As part of the conspiracy, the Centre and the State government lodged a case against me for delivering inflammatory speeches. I spent 20 days behind bars without committing any crime." (ANI)