Bharatiya Janata Party leader Maneka Gandhi on Monday said that her exclusion from the party’s national executive committee did not reduce her stature, PTI reported.

Maneka Gandhi and her son Varun Gandhi were dropped from the committee on October 7. Maneka Gandhi is the party’s MP from Sultanpur, and Varun Gandhi is an MP from the Pilibhit constituency.

The development came after Varun Gandhi criticised the violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri. Eight people, including four farmers, were killed in the violence on October 3 during a protest against the Centre’s new agriculture laws.

“I am satisfied to be in the BJP for 20 years,” Maneka Gandhi said on Monday, according to PTI. “Not being in the executive does not reduce one’s stature. My first religion is to serve. It is more important that I get a place in the hearts of people.”

She pointed out that there were other senior BJP leaders who were not included in the executive committee. “New people should also get an opportunity,” Gandhi added. “I am aware of my duties and serving the people of my constituency is my first duty.”

Also read: ‘We saw farmers being literally crushed’: Anger against BJP cuts across caste, religion in rural UP

Four days after the violence, Varun Gandhi had posted a video on Twitter showing a vehicle running over a group of unarmed protestors. He had said that that protestors “cannot be silenced through murder” and said that justice must be delivered “before a message of arrogance and cruelty enters the minds of every farmer”.

On Sunday, Varun Gandhi tweeted that an attempt was being made to turn the Lakhimpur Kheri incident into a battle between Hindus and Sikhs.

Gandhi was apparently hinting at Ajay Mishra’s accusation that farmers, under a Sikh separatist group’s influence, had attacked a convoy associated with him in Lakhimpur Kheri.

The BJP has expressed displeasure with his comments about the incident.

“He [Varun Gandhi] projected as if the entire fault lies at the doorsteps of the leaders,” a party leader said. “We are awaiting the investigation report and believe that incident was unfortunate. He should have been patient at a time when the entire opposition is targeting the party.”

Farmer bodies have alleged that a vehicle that was part of Union minister Ajay Mishra’s convoy ran over the protestors. They have claimed that the vehicle belonged to the minister’s son Ashish Mishra.

The Union minister’s son was sent to three-day police custody on Monday. Ashish Mishra has been charged with multiple offences, including murder and criminal conspiracy.

The Opposition has repeatedly criticised the BJP for the violence that broke out in Lakhimpur Kheri on October 3.