Nitin Gadkari sees bid to drive wedge between him and BJP leadership

Mumbai: Union minister and BJP leader Nitin Gadkari on Sunday was at pains to clarify his Saturday’s remark in Pune –  that leaders should consider taking responsibility for defeats in public life — which has gained traction owing to the BJP’s rout in three states in the cow belt. He claimed that his statement had been twisted and it was a conspiracy to drive a wedge between him and the BJP leadership. ‘‘I will never allow such conspiracies to succeed.

I have been clarifying my position at various forums and shall continue to do so and expose these nefarious designs of our detractors,” Gadkari tweeted. Gadkari’s somewhat cryptic remarks in Pune were open to interpretation. He had said: ‘‘Leadership should have the vrutti (tendency) to own up defeat and failures. Loyalty of the leadership towards the organisation will not be proved till the time it owns up responsibility for defeat.”

The Union minister went on to add that unlike success, nobody is willing to own up failure. “Success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan, as when there is success, there will be a race to take credit but in case of failure, everybody will start pointing fingers at each other,” the Union Road Transport and Highways Minister had said. Incidentally, this is the second time in five days that Gadkari has done some loud talking.

On Friday, he had made an equally cryptic remark when he said with his characteristic smile stretching across his face, ‘‘Sapne dikhane wale logon ko achchhe lagte hai, par dikhaye hue sapne jab pure nahi hote hai to un netaon ki log pitai bhi karte hain ’’ (People love those who spin dreams but if those dreams are not fulfilled, those leaders are thrashed by the people).

The minister was, of course, speaking in the context of a “dream” plan that envisages tourists flying just 10cm above the water in an airboat over a “clean and free-flowing Ganga”. However, the media refused to take his remarks at face value and began speculating whether the allusion to tall promises and the failure to deliver had any political overtones.

On Saturday, Gadkari referred to Friday’s remarks as well when he said that he had noticed a sinister campaign by some opposition parties and a section of the media to twist his statements, put them out of context and draw politically motivated inferences to malign the BJP and him. “I have time and again strongly refuted such insinuations and once again condemn all these mala fide and mischievous out of context reports attributed to me,’’ he said. The jury is still out.

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