Why did Varun say ‘no’ to Oxford?

April 07 2023

Opposite to his cousin Rahul Gandhi, BJP leader Varun Gandhi is being a little more careful in projecting the new face of India in foreign forums. On the one hand, while Rahul Gandhi, on three other occasions, including at the University of Cambridge in London, spoke about the threat to democracy in India, Varun turned down the invitation to the Oxford Union in which he had to debate how successful India is under Modi’s leadership. This invitation was sent to Varun from the office of Oxford Union President Matthew Dick. Varun first received the invitation through an e-mail, after which Mathew’s assistant Sultan Khokhar contacted him over the phone. At a time when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is going to London and living there with the idea that democracy in India is under threat, Varun’s refusal to speak against the Oxford Union proposal can be dismissed for many political reasons. As Varun also said in his reply to the Oxford Union, “I believe that such issues should be raised within the periphery of the country and between the policy makers here. Foreign forums are not the appropriate place for it.” In fact, Varun reiterated in his private conversation that ‘it is a form of treason to say such negative and misleading things about India on foreign soil.” And this ‘thing’ pleased his party ‘top’ too.

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