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Gauri Lankesh’s brother was once tipped to join BJP

Gauri Lankesh’s brother was once tipped to join BJP

New Delhi: Indrajit Lankesh, brother of slain journalist Gauri Lankesh, was tipped to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“As of now I am just known to be aligned to BJP’s ideology, of course, [BS] Yeddyurappa and Narendra Modi’s leadership has inspired me to join politics. It is just a thought now, and it is too early to give any kind of confirmation,” he quoted in a report in The New Indian Express, published in July.

He had even gone to the extent of comparing Yeddyurappa with Basavanna, the iconic 12th-century reformer, who is revered in Karnataka.  Since Tuesday, when his sister was murdered by an assassin, Indrajit seems to have changed his mind. He denied his earlier wish to join politics to The India Today, maintaining that he is a director first and will remain so.

Indrajit, who is a reputed director in the Kannada film industry, fell out with Gauri over editorial policies while the two were managing their late father’s news magazine Lankesh Patrike.

Five years after taking over the paper after P Lankesh’s death in 2000, brother and sister decided to end their collaboration due to growing differences. Indrajit told NDTV the two reached a tipping point when Gauri wanted to publish an article about Naxal leader Saket Ranjan. He flatly refused to run the interview.

In 2005, Gauri started her own journal Gauri Lankesh Patrike, where she continued to publish investigative stories. Alongside journalism, she also worked tirelessly as an activist, spending precious years trying to rehabilitate former Naxals into society.

Speaking to The Times of India, Indrajit expressed apprehension over alleged death threats that his sister is believed to have received from Naxalites, who were displeased with her work with those who had lapsed from the ideology.

“It is my personal opinion that Naxals were unhappy with my sister bringing many people from their cadres into the mainstream. The feeling became strong after she managed to bring Sirimane Nagaraj, a prominent Naxalite leader, into the mainstream,” he said.

However, their other sibling, Kavita Lankesh, who is also a film-maker but has never been directly involved in the running of Lankesh Patrike, denied her brother’s suspicions.

“He has no clue about the Naxals. Gauri worked for the Naxals for years together and against the Sangh Parivar,” she told The Times of India.

Gauri never mentioned any death threats to either her family or even to politicians like Siddaramaiah, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, who she had recently met for a good two hours.

Since Gauri’s murder, Indrajit has urged the Congress government in Karnataka to pass the investigation on to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). “Whoever it may be, I just want justice. If the right-wing people are behind this, I want the police to catch them and bring them to justice. My sister has been murdered and all I want is justice,” he told The Times of India.