VARUN Gandhi, the grandson of Mrs Indira Gandhi, is the new scapegoat of Indian politics. Even his mother, who is trained in the game of politicking, could not help him this time. Varun was a face for the Chief Minister of UP. Even in BJP, the top leadership was a bit worried with the daring steps he took to claim the leadership. But, then events overtook his efforts. First, he was caught with chickengunia and then there was a honey trap where his photographs were circulated by unknown sources through Whatsapp. This came when opinion polls were indicating he was becoming a leading face of saffron politics in UP. Varun though is undeterred by the dirty political game. In the last two-and-a-half years, he has helped debt-ridden farmers of the State with financial aid of Rs. 18 crore. Interestingly, Rs. 1.5 crore was from his own funds and Rs. 16.5 crore was collected by him in form of charity from local elites. To identify genuinely distressed farmers, he set up three indicators to select the crisis-hit farmers. These included farmers who had defaulted on their loan repayment, whose crops had been destroyed in a row during three crop cycles, and those who had no fixed assets. Subsequently, 3,662 farmers were freed from debt. But, Varun’s team noticed that 15 per cent of farmers freed from debt were again in loan trap. He opted then for a different approach. He decided to make a website having details of such farmers. The site was connected to affluent persons. After touring more than 20 UP districts, Varun analysed that most farmers were burdened with a loan of Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 1.5 lakh. The details were taken from local banks and after investigation a list of beneficiaries was prepared. Consequently, Varun rolled on his mission to provide a house to the needy. Till now he has successfully built more than 100 such houses. But all his good work has today come undone. BJP sources disclosed that for Varun, there seems now no way ahead in BJP. Nobody is sure whether he will be given any responsibility during UP assembly elections.
VOL. 10, ISSUE 8 | NOV, 2016