News Story

Glam'N' Gadkari

by Vaidehi Sachin (August 15-30-2010)

BJP President known for his controversial statement and making a news. In yet another controversial statement, BJP President Nitin Gadkari compared Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Mahatma Gandhi`s Three Monkeys and accused him of keeping mum on corruption in the Commonwealth Games. BJP President Nitin Gadkari has blamed the UPA Government for alleged instances of corruption dogging the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh why an inquiry is yet to be constituted despite adverse remarks on the OC by the Enforcement Directorate, Central Vigilance Commission and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. The BJP chief said a privilege motion should be moved against Youth Affairs and Sports Minister for insulting the Lok Sabha during a debate in the House when he suggested opposition MPs could take recourse to the Right to Information Act to get their queries answered. He said budget overruns witnessed in the various projects for the Commonwealth Games could have been avoided through better monitoring. Janata Dal (United) President Sharad Yadav said the "loot and superficial development works" in the name of the Commonwealth Games was happening in a country where the "majority of people were poor". A report "Mishandling, Mismanagement and Corruption in Commonwealth Games" prepared by BJP General Secretary Vijay Goel was also released by Mr. Gadkari and Mr. Yadav on the occasion.

Mr. Goel claimed that the Commonwealth Games Federation President Mike Fennel had confessed helplessness on interfering in the irregularities related to the OC functioning. Former Lok Sabha speaker Manohar Joshi said the Games irregularities had shamed India's standing in the world and said the Union Government had to take the responsibility. Anyways in the recent past BJP President Nitin Gadkari during the past eight months of his functioning has exposed himself as an immature politician in media and messiah for common man. His remarks are generally foolish that's why lands himself in controversies, one after another. Being a blue-eyed boy of the RSS, has caused disappointment to his mentors? What the BJP is not realising is that a party cannot win the common man's lost confidence by just opposing to everything that the UPA-II does, but by offering constructive solutions. The common man is still unclear about what the BJP stands for now as it was before Gadkari became the party president. Many see Rahul Gandhi as Congress' next big leader but, who shall be the BJP's face is still not clear: BJP is still in leadership crises. The irony is that no one is there in BJP who is known as national figure for BJP across the country. Narendra Modi, Varun Gandhi who else? Narendra Modi does not have much following outside Gujarat and with the Gujarat riots still hounding him, it is doubtful if he can win the Indians at large. And Varun Gandhi, seriously? The very name, brings to mind issues like cows, temples and the Ganga, or his controversial remarks like calling Sharad Pawar as 'Ravana' and Mayawati as 'Surpanakha', that do not do him much good. BJP's regional bets like Mulayam Singh Yadav or Lalu Prasad Yadav are allying with the Congress, though this can change anytime. The likes of H D Deve Gowda or N Chandrababu Naidu cannot be banked upon for too long in the future, and then who will challenge the Congress? It is high time that the BJP takes stock of the internal situation because it is still not too late. The 2014 Lok Sabha elections are quite far off. BJP can still get its act together.

There are some able leaders in the party but their talents are not being channelised properly. They should wake up and start working for the constructive good for the country. The common man has suffered many times due to political games and upmanship. Why not let him benefit for a change? Hope the BJP does some good for the country in the hope of winning the next general elections. Gadkari has been leading the BJP since he became the President of the party over eight months back. He took over at the helm of the BJP from Rajnath Singh at a time when the party was facing serious internal crisis. It was still mulling over its defeat in the 2009 general elections yet again to Congress-led UPA. Serious questions began to be raised about L K Advani's leadership, who was BJP's prime ministerial candidate in last general election. Post the defeat, internal conflicts began to surface. Jaswant Singh was expelled from the party because of his pro-Jinnah comments. Then, trouble brewed from all corners like Sudhe-endra Kulkarni, Arun Shourie, Yaswant Singh and Vasundhara Raje. It was in the midst of this internal turmoil that a strategic decision was taken to bring in fresh blood to BJP's leadership in answer to Congress' Rahul Gandhi card.

This is how Nitin Gadkari, a little known politician, came to become the president of the leading Opposition party. Nitin Gadkari was chosen as the president because he was seen by many in the BJP as a clear thinker, an organiser and as someone who has a forward-looking attitude. This was before he was elected as the party president but, half a year down the post, he has not done much to prove his supporters right. The BJP had an excellent opportunity in the shape of Nitin Gadkari. The common man did not know much about him. He was like a clean canvas that could have been coloured in vibrant colours to improve the image of BJP. Sadly, just the opposite has happened. Nitin Gadkari has always landed himself into controversies one after ano-ther due to his loose comments. First, he drew a parallel between Narendra Modi and Mahatma Gandhi, much to the chagrin of the Congress. Then, post their defeat in the Cut Motion, Gadkari compared Mulayam Singh Yadav and Lalu Prasad Yadav to dogs that went to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's house to lick her feet. Inspite of repe-ated reminders from his partymen to be careful with words, he did not stop there. He went on to call Afzal Guru, the man sentenced to death in the 2001 Parliament attack case, as Congress' son-in-law. He even called Digvijay Singh, a senior Congress leader, "Aur-angzeb ki aulad". These are some of the serious verbal blunders. Minor ones like 'Rajkumar' (referring to Rahul Gandhi) cease to shock anymore. His verbal gaffes have become so common that Congress spokesman Manish Tewari now openly says that the Congress will comment on his remarks when he says something serious.

One cannot blame the Congress for that because Gadkari himself has hurt his image by making loose comments again and again that has led him to being taken lightly now. In an interview, he claimed that he had controlled 80 per cent of the problem of his partymen going public with their disagreements, and that he would not hesitate to take strict action against those who don't stop. Ironically, it is he who seems to be hurting the image of his party because of his big mouth. Instead of focusing on real issues that can lead BJP to victory in the next elections, he is just talking for the sake of talking. He tried to play the card of dynasty rule in Congress, without realising that this was immaterial to the common man as proved by their voting for Congress-led government not once but twice. To the common man, he does not seem to be in control of his party or allies, as was proved by the Jharkhand fiasco. BJP under his leadership thinks that by staging bandhs, or by destroying public property, or by stalling Parliament proceedings, they may win the public vote. On the contrary, by doing this they are losing the confidence of the middle-class as well that was once their stronghold and the main reason behind their 'India Shining' campaign. On the other hand how can any sensible person in this country even think of Congress party to be the best of the rest and keep on applauding them and keep in critisizing the others? Because of this Congress, India is at such a position that common man can`t even think of anything good. If the government fails take care of their responsibilities given to them by the country. It is time to take action by others who are patriotic to their country. So that no one can just make a mockery of our country and our people and take us for a ride. Nitin Gadkari had raised expectations as a no-nonsense man who me-ant business.

Even as he has tried to synchronise the pulls and pressures within the BJP, the first mistake Gadkari was done by composition of his team which has disappointed. He has failed to come across as his own man, Nitin Gadkari's new team meant to show how the new Bharatiya Janata Party chief planned to translate his intentions into reality and move and shake the party. But it was a case of Dug up a mountain but only found a mouse. Four months into the party presidency, Gadkari has a revolt on his hands, and that too in Bihar, where critical state elections were due. Gadkari took three months to finalise his team, after innumerable rounds of consultations with state units, the public expression of unhappiness by party leaders has not done anything to strengthen Gadkari's authority as BJP chief. But first, let us consider the plus side of Team Gadkari. The average age of the Gadkari team has come down, and that is a step forward.

The increasingly youthful face of the Congress, under Rahul Gandhi had posed a challenge for the BJP and was a cause for worry for the Sangh Parivar. There are 12 women office-bearers and 40 women in the BJP's national executive, and the party constitution has changed under Gandkari's stewardship, and this will exert its own pressure on other parties. But the question being asked is: Who are the youth and women -- and indeed others -- the BJP president has chosen to bring to the fore to lead the party? And in so doing, how far has he moved in the direction of fulfilling the promises he made when he took over? When he began his stint as the party chief