Page last updated at 14:01 GMT, Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Gandhi family member is accused

By Sanjoy Majumder
BBC News, Delhi

Varun Gandhi in 2004
Mr Gandhi denies the accusations made against him

A grandson of the late Indian PM, Indira Gandhi, has been charged with inciting hatred against Muslims during a recent election campaign rally.

Varun Gandhi is alleged to have made the inflammatory remarks while campaigning as a candidate of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

Mr Gandhi denies making the remarks and has said that the tape was doctored.

Three out of India's 14 prime ministers belong to the Nehru-Gandhi family, including the first, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Into trouble

Although Varun Gandhi is a descendant of the influential Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, he belongs to a side of the family that has disowned them.

Now a member of the Hindu nationalist BJP, he is making his political debut in next month's general election.

But an alleged campaign speech made on Sunday has got him into trouble with the country's independent election commission.

During his speech, which was videotaped and aired on television, Mr Gandhi is seen as making offensive remarks against Muslims saying they should be sent to Pakistan.

Criminal charges have been filed against him after the commission reviewed the footage.

The BJP has distanced itself from the remarks and said it will consider action if the charges are proved.

If convicted, Mr Gandhi could be disqualified from contesting and face imprisonment.

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