IIPM Admission

Friday, October 12, 2012

We face the problem of 'image vs reality'

IIPM Review MBA 2012

In an interview on a wide range of topics, the BJP party president, Nitin Gadkari tells TSI that this time around the party is concentrating its energies on the rural poor, the unorganised sector and the adivasis

Nitin Gadkari
Nitin Gadkari
What is going on in the BJP?
Things are on the right track though some time we face the problem of 'image vs reality’. We are a democratic party, not a family or proprietary concern. We are a collective leadership. BJP's critics say that the party is opportunistic, changing its policies to suit the situation of the moment. This has alienated your supporters. Comment. This is not true. There has been no change in the party’s policy. After my taking over as the BJP’s national president, we have been concentrating on five segments including SCs and STs to augment our vote bank. We are mobilising the unorganised sector. The Bharatiya Shramik Mahasangh held a conference of nearly 20,000 workers in New Delhi. We have been taking the help of the ‘Friends of BJP.’

At present, the BJP has 27 cells and groups working on different projects. Our 'good governance' approach is one of the measures to reach out to the new segments of the population. Besides Manipur, we will be fighting elections in Uttarakhand, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Goa. In Punjab and Uttarakhand, the challenge is to retain power.

Are you banking on the non-performance of the Congress?
We don’t wish to get elected on a negative plank. We are according priority to villages, the rural poor, the unorganised workers, the agriculture sector and on the economic issues. For us it is important to work for removal of poverty, employment generation and transforming agricultural and rural India economy.

We are evolving our strategies on these issues. At present, we are preparing documents on 32 subjects under the title ‘The Difference that We Made.’ This will highlight the good work we have done in the BJP-ruled states. Like, the Public Distribution System (PDS) in Chhattisgarh that helped in rooting out corruption. In Gujarat, the 14 per cent rate of growth tells the success story in this BJP ruled state.

So far, we have held 17 conclaves on different topics. Our other priority is tourism development. It is my dream that transport in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand runs on electricity because they are a power surplus state. Another thrust area will be the BLOT (build-lease-operate-transfer) model, which can materialise projects worth Rs 5,000 crore without investing any public funds. Simultaneously, we are working in fields such as bio-fuel, organic farming and yoga. They have a huge employment potential.

What about the Ram Mandir issue?
The path for the Ram Mandir has been cleared. The verdict of the Allahabad High Court is unambiguous. At present, the matter is before the Supreme Court.

What is your position on Foreign Direct Investment?
We are not against FDI per se. In the present situation, bringing FDI in retail will result in creating unemployment in this sector. There are an estimated five crore families in small and medium enterprises. We implemented FDI in power and infrastructure when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was leading the nation.

Do you support the malls of Reliance, Birla and Tata?
Indian industrialists have every right to open malls in India. But it is also true that small retailers face difficulties because of big players.

Today, the shared view is that BJP is a party of leaders. That it lacks cohesion and party workers?
I do not claim that everything is all right with us. But no, this is not true. We have several prominent leaders both at the centre and in the states. Our NDA-BJP chief ministers are doing extremely well. The GDP has shown a growth of 11 percent in Bihar. Madhya Pradesh, once called a sick state, has achieved a rate of 8.5 per cent growth. There is a perception that the RSS has appointed you... No. It is not correct. The RSS never appoints anyone in the BJP.

Does the RSS give you directions?
The RSS has been an integral part of my life. Only once in the last two years, has the RSS asked me to stand firmly behind Narendra Modi. Because he was facing difficulties. No other message has come from the RSS to me. You may write about the RSS but do verify the facts. The RSS never interferes in the functioning of the BJP.

You claim to be working on a strategy of winning 200 seats in the next Lok Sabha elections. Where are you going to get these seats?
Let me ask this question the other way round. Tell me the states which are favourable to the Congress? In the last election, we had won only 7 out of 70 seats in Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. This time, our tally in these states will easily go to 35-40.

Why is the BJP is called a communal party?
We may be called a communal party till we win 170 seats.

Will the BJP support the Lokayukta and Lokpal Bill?
Public sentiment demands action against the corrupt. I have told all elected representatives that politics is not a business to make money. We don’t claim that everybody in our party is honest. But it is our endeavour to provide a development oriented administration .

Do you support the agitation launched by Anna Hazare?
We support Anna’s movement. Some of the points raised by him are relevant.

Will Anna Hazare's agitation help you in the coming elections?
Anna is agitating to rid this country of corruption. We support his efforts. We will not seek his backing in elections. Your take on re-induction of Uma Bharti in the BJP. The party needs everyone who believes in BJP’s policies and programmes. Uma Bharti has her own image as a leader.

How do you rate Mayawati as a leader?
UP has suffered due to casteism. Mayawati indulged in caste politics and called it social engineering. But people are fed up with this now. They don’t want Mulayam’s goonda raj to return as well. The only options are the BJP and Congress.

Do you think the BJP will be able to put the Congress party on the back foot in the coming elections?
The Congress can’t answer questions on corruption, price rise and black money. Its credibility is lost due to 2G and Commonwealth Games scams.

During UPA-1 , there was an excuse that certain policies could not be pursued because of the Left Front. But that is not the case in the UPA-2. The Congress has finished the aam aadmi.

What is your stand on the issues like the food security bill?
The definition of the line of poverty must be revised to decide who are genuinely poor. They must be provided food at cheaper rates. It is not creditable to our country that people die of hunger.


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