INTERVIEW WITH BJP national president Nitin Gadkari for Teekhi Baat on IBN7. Gadkari spoke on a range of issues like Jharkhand Rajya Sabha elections fiasco, the issue of S.S Ahluwalia being sidelined, PM candidate in LS elections 2014, his re elections as president and his relations with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.
PC: How much weight did you lose?
PC: (laughs) what was your target and how much did you lose
NG: Too much, I have lost 27 kilos.
PC: What is the target, 40?
NG: upto 40
PC: Correspondingly, you political weight should increase.
NG: Political weight depends on you
PC: laughs I am not on politics, political weight increases or decreases depending upon winning or losing. In the past five six months, what has come in the newspapers, like it is said in Mumbai, ‘Munni badnaam hui,’ likewise Gadkari badnaam hue Sanchetti ke liye, Mishra ke liye, what kind of politics is happening in your party.
NG: Yeh to dilli ki rajneeti hain sir. I will ask you’re a different question, what wrong work did I do, tell me even one with evidence? You will become lawyers, register FIR and announce decision, this is wrong. See, the first thing is that when you are talking of Jharkhand,
NG: Yes, we had 18 votes, out of whom one we acted against, 17 remained, to get elected one needs 27 votes. Last time, we had lost both seats. For candidates had come, out of which I asked everybody, who can get 10 votes we will support him and he will be with us in Rajya Sabha. Four candidates had approached me, from which Anshuman Mishra said he had get support 6-7, even then we had not thought that we will support him, his name was in the reckoning though. But the question is let me ask you a reverse question,
PC: You two BJP MLA’s signed on his nomination form, your party is very disciplined, these days BJP people believe in discipline how much you know, why did the duo sign?
NG: Leave whether he signed or not, did the right thing or not. What is wrong in it, is there any FIR against him.
PC: That is your party’s decision
NG: Do you have any evidence against him.
PC: Then why did you make him withdraw
NG: Please see, the first thing is that,
PC: No FIR, no criminal record, nice young person, political connections everything is there,
NG: The first thing is that Delhi’s politics is not run on truth and ground reality, but on perception. I want to say only one thing, before speaking about anybody; one should seek the truth in the issue.
PC: I agree with you but..
NG: What about Ajay Sanchetti,
PC: He is a businessman, he has got mining contracts in Chattisgarh, he was favoured, this all has been briefed by people of your party, we don’t dream up things
NG: Please see, the first thing is that, let our party people brief or somebody else, but you will print the truth, isn’t it? Prabhuji, nobody in the world can say that I took a single pie from anybody and gave it to anybody else.
PC: But when there was no FIR against Mishra, why did you make him withdraw.
NG: The first thing is that, when there is a controversy in the party without any reason, then I did not make him withdraw, he himself withdrew it
PC: But the statement came from the BJP, it came from your office
NG: Please see, he withdrew it, I don’t want to be part of any controversy. Secondly, about Ajay Sanchetti, I know that family, their family has been associated with our RSS, his grand father was sanghchalak, his uncle was three time MLA of Jana Sangh, his uncle’s brother is incumbent MLA, is a part of our family. The party has given ticket to so many businessmen and traders. Mamtaji,
PC: Journalists also
NG: We also gave to joiurnalists, Laloo Prasadjee has given to businessmen, Congress has given to businessmen. He was active in Vidhyarthi Parishad in Maharashtra, has potential and stood for with conviction, what is wrong against him, then what is the reason for tendering an apology. To make resourceful people join the party to increase its scope and base is my work and good and resourceful person has joined the party, we will benefit from it in Maharashtra and the country.
PC: How much resources Sanchetti and others can collect for the party
NG: The first thing is that Sanchetti has not even collected a rupee till now. A person can be resourcefull through knowledge, business, experience of infrastructure, expert on economy, creativity in work,
PC: It is seeming from the past some years, be it BJP, Congress, give tickets to big businessmen having Rs. 200, Rs. 400 crores, as it seen from their declarations.
NG: Prabhuji, you are understanding it wrong, he is no crore-pati and he has not got ticket as a crorepati. I am telling you again and again,
PC: I am not, your party men are saying
NG: I have no concern with why my party people are saying, I have already spoken about people giving ‘off the record’ briefings in the party, I have told it is wrong. If there is anyone, tell me by name
PC: Am asking you about a trend, that big businessmen are given entry through the backdoor, be it Congress,BJP or anybody else. It seems that the party workers and people who have been working for the past since many years, they have been ignored.
NG: First thing I want to tell you is that Ajay Sanchetti is a party worker for the past 20 years, earlier he was a position holder in Vidyarthi Parishad and along with that he has been associated with BJP throughout our trials and troubles and a staunch party worker, and through god’s grace has a big business house, this does not mean that can become a ground for his disqualification.
PC: No talking about Sanchetti, but you also said that you will not give RS ticket to Bal Apte, Sham Jaju said openly that he was not offered a RS ticket, he is also a party workers.
NG: Firstly, it would be injustice to Bal Apteji to say this about him, he is a very selfless party worker, he himself hold me that he would not want to contest next elections, he himself withdrew, didn’t demand ticket, In the party, earlier too, from Viren Shah and many other businessmen.
PC: What is the policy, I had heard that normally, no person can get from than two terms in the Rajya Sabha
NG: That is not the case, we have seen the ability of the leadership and taken decisions as exceptions. Now Venkaiah Naidu has been given third term,
PC: There are three people to whom you have given three people, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Jaitely saab and Naidu also, but not SS Ahluwalia, you did not give him, he talks, raises issue well, you later later due to force you gave him, what policy do you have, is there any?
NG: See, he was asked will he contest in Jharkhand, he said I do not want to contest from Jharkhand, I cannot contest from there. We had offered him the first ticket.
PC: If Dharamendra Pradhan can, why not Ahluwalia
NG: Please see, from where to give what where is the decision of the party internal election committee.
PC: But there is no policy, you will give somebody else from Madhya Pradesh, somebody from Madhya Pradesh in Bihar, if you have to give a ticket to somebody, you find a way for him.
NG: See, Najma worked for so many years in Rajya Sabha, she contributed to the party, is a good parliamentarian, hence she was given ticket again from Madhya Pradesh. Please tell me Ramkrishanji served the party for 22 years,
PC: Tell me one thing, between Najma Heptullah and S.S Ahluwalia, both are in minority, on merit, who deserved more.
NG: Please see,
PC: A person who is committed to the ideology of the party, who had been with the party through thick and thin and who had shown
NG: Please see, the first thing, the principle of your question of wrong, who is loyal or not is not the criteria for giving a ticket. A ticket, everybody should get, minority, majority.
PC: Among both minorities
NG: Now we gave all of them. Now see, Sidhu’s wife got elected as MLA this time. Ticket, is given after thinking all things, and sometimes there are five candidates and all are good.
PC: Now a quota has been formed ,this candidate of this person, this candidate of that person. Like Sanchetti Sahab is in Gadkari’s account, Heptullah is in Adavni account, Dharamendra Pradhan in some other account.
NG: This is the problem of you, the Delhi media. You credibility is getting eroded. Maharashtra Parliamentary board elected Sanchetti and got his name to Delhi. Not because I said.
PC: I am saying because it was printed in by the media
NG: There is going to be change in the ministers, even this was published in the media today. Leave our thing, but do think something so that your media’s credibility is strong.
PC: You did not reply to me question, who is better among the two, Heptullah or Ahluwalia. Ahluwalia was found better later, not earlier.
NG: Both are good, I have told you that I have Ahluwaliaji, a ticket from Jharkhand earlier; he was given the first opportunity to contest. But he said that he cannot fight form Jharkhand.
PC: But you had a safe seat for Najma
NG: Please see, the first thing is that if we would have given to Ahluwaliaji, then you would have said, why you did not give to Najmaji. Hence, a person who wants to ask can ask anything.
PC: But tell me you are troubled these days, moving across many places, meeting so many people, a national president who goes everywhere, now the talk of second term has started.
NG: First thing, I am not troubled,
PC: Am man gets tired, does work and even then gets abused,
NG: Let me tell you one thing, a person who worries about the future are in tension. A person who does not worry about the future or the media, I have come to Delhi, I have not kept PR with any media person or any other leader by going to him.
PC: You meet only partymen
NG: Yes, I have done one work, I am a staunch worker of this party. I have to fulfil the responsibility given to me. Whatever the best I can deliver for the party, I will keep on trying. Sometimes I get success, sometimes no. Now you tell me, we won in Bihar, tell me we repeated our government in Punjab, in Uttarakhand we won around the same number of seats, the Goa Congress government went and our government came to power, we won all three municipal corporations in Delhi, in Uttar Pradesh we did not get as much success as we expected to get. Compare this to Congress, it lost in Punjab, Congress is on margin,equal in Uttarakhand, Congress completely lost in Uttar Pradesh, from 82 vidhan sabha in 27,
PC: They went from 22 to 27
NG: Before this, Congress was leading in 82 Lok Sabha seats in the Vidhan Sabha segment, now it has come down to 27. In Goa congress administration went, in Delhi they divided Municipal Corporation into three and were expecting that they will win at least one,
PC: You are national president, if there is any award for garnering mileage, moving around the country, you will get. You moved everywhere, but on the issue of second term, whether the president should get a second term or not, what do you think, should one get or not
NG: Media mai baap like you in the media will decide.
PC: There was RSS meeting , you were also there, MP
NG: Let me tell you one thing, with Sangh every year, there is one samanvay baithak charcha, in which a thought is given to work and other questions. This happens every year, this has not happened in the first year. Second thing, there was no discussion about my regime with the Sangh nor was there any issue in the meeting. I have not taken this issue, met the media or any leader. Let me tell you one thing, I will do the work that the party gives me. If my tenure is not extended, I am the happiest man, I have not gone and asked, I have no hurt. I have told you earlier, whatever role the party gives me, I will continue to do that for the coming 25 years. I am not working with the intention of getting some power position, I am here to my house, family
PC: What you mean to say that there was no discussion on that topic in the meeting, whether a second term should be there or no.
NG:I feel, you tell me, leave our thing, but people who write in media, is printed, talk on television, leave us think about your credibility. If you get some record, that something has been done wrong, then write about it. From own estimate to write what one wants
PC: You say media is flying kites
NG: Please see, whether I am getting a second term or not, is a question of our senior leaders of the party, this our leaders if they find appropriate, will do or not. I want to say one thing, that I have not gone to anybody and told anybody, that give me a second term, and neither I am requesting for this. On the contrary I have told you earlier that, I will do whatever work that the party gives me,
PC: The real challenge has started for you now Mr. President, like you are winning small battles, but the war is about the come, then It will be known whether you win or not. The biggest thing is that in the Presidential elections, what is the role of the BJP going to be, because according to media, national parties are seeming irrelevant at the moment, that you both have nothing in your hands, other will be the decision makers. Have you given a thought to this
NG: I have thought a lot, and spoken to many people, and I believe that the President of India, a person who increases the respect of the country, a good person, who can give direction to the country’s development, people and take a bow after seeing him, whether he is political or not, a person looking at whom India feels proud, such a person should be there.
PC: Do you see any such person who is acceptable, a person like Atalji
NG: Please see, I want to tell one thing, why should I open all cards in front of you. Aaage aage dekho, hota hain kya.
PC: That means you have something in your armour
NG: 100 per cent, why should we open. See, thing first thing is that we are the first principal opposition, as NDA and Congress. Between the two the situation is that we have 31 per cent, they have 36 per cent, it means barring us 48 per cent are outside.
PC: They will decide
NG: Then naturally how will Congress take these 48 per cent of people with them or we go with them or they come with us, we will make a policy for that.
PC: If that 48 per cent, get a candidate before you, will you think about it or not
NG: Please see, we are deciding, we have no request that somebody should be from our party only. This country’s democracy should be strong, the nationals respect will increase,
PC: I am asking that BJP will not insist that it should be their candidate
NG: Certainly. We will not insist on behalf of the BJP that the candidate should be ours, we only want a good person who increases the respect of the country, such a person.
PC: If Mulayam Singh gets some candidate, or Mamta, or Naveen Patnaik, then you can think on it,
NG: Till now, nobody has come, if anybody comes then will think over it.
PC: Nobody is approaching you now
NG: We have not approached them, they have not approached us
PC: Now you are a national party, your people also keeping talking with the government and there was a talk that you get together and the Vice President is of BJP and president of Congress party.
NG: Till now, nobody has given such a proposal, so to talk on the same.
PC: Is there any possibility
NG: What do I know that can be told by Congress party leaders?
PC: If the Congress offers
NG: What should I answer on if or when, if they offer then I will give an answer. Till now they have not given an offer.
PC: You will get their bills passed
NG: Please see, there bills in nation’s interest like the finance bills, why should they be stopped.
PC: Why have you stalled
NG: They have been stalled due to some differences, if we agree on it then they go through, the issues in country’s interest should be agreed upon. In country’s interest, be it power sector, industries, agriculture,
PC: If your Vice President is elected, then in one way formally your co operation
NG: Please see, Congress party is ruling party, till now they have not given a proposal saying that President will be their candidate and Vice President would be ours.
PC: Sharad Pawar said that it should be a non political person
NG: Sharad Pawar made it clear
PC: Whenever he speaks he speaks with great thought and understanding
NG: He said the right thing,
PC: You support him
NG: He said it in the right spirit, please don’t take everything politically, he said that a person who increase the respect of the country should be made, whether he be political or non political. And even I am saying the same thing. I agree with what he said, see what is the principle of our party, country first, after that party, then me. A person who increases the respect of our country, there are some people who attain the post and increase their importance, and there are some people who attain the post, and the post increases in importance.
PC: The name of Kalam saab is cropping up again and again, who was your candidate
NG: I don’t know whether Kalam sahab wants to contest or not.
PC: You have not contacted him as yet
NG: Till now, we haven’t
PC: Now the biggest issues are inflation, unemployment, BJP is not opposing so much on these issues, whether in parliament or outside parliament,
NG: Tell me, in a fight, the military on the opposite side, lays arms down then will one hit them. The government has gone down on its knees, the situation is such. Please see, inflation has skyrocketed, dollar is gaining strength continuously in comparison to rupee, our GDP growth, whether it will be 5.5 per cent, I don’t know, it has come down so much. Steel industry facing losses, aviation industry is in doldrums, coal is not available, power industry is in bad state, farmers are committing suicide, fertilizers are being black marketed, road infrastructure works speed has slowed down and have stalled. Tell me the number of unemployed is increasing,
PC:You are not raising these issues, there are so many issues in your party which crop up
NG: It is not a question of we raising t
PC: You recently spoke on Modi
NG: The first thing is that, people are feeling that wrong economic policies and bad and corrupt governance of the Congress party is the basic reason. I am doing survey, earlier we had lost in cities, now in all cities
PC: You have won
NG: against the congress
PC: You won municipal corporation elections. But there are issues that you said about Modi in a tv channel recently.
NG: I said nothing. You are doing the work of instigating fights. Narendra Modi is a good leader of the party, senior leader, now in the party we can talk to him anytime and solve all the things, there is no problem in that.
PC: There will be talks
NG: Will be, will be,
PC: The dialogue will start
NG: Please see, my dialogue stalled with him. He is good leader and a role model chief minister and done good development work, and I feel, there is no problem, we are all of one ideology.
PC: Your and his tenure is coming to end at the same time, elections will happen.
NG: The BJP will be a grand success in Gujarat under his leadership, this is my confidence.
PC: Not about him, am speaking generally, because in 2013, preparations will begin in 2013 for 2014. You had given a statement in Teekhi Baat, a person who wins Lok Sabha elections, will become Prime Minister.
NG: It is good you gave me time, I will tell you what I had said. I had said that all the people who are aiming for the Prime Minister’s post, in my knowledge, that all of them are going to fight Lok Sabha elections,
PC: You know they want to become Prime Minister
NG: Yes, the five seven people have said that we are ready, that I had told you, secondly, that is there, different meanings are taken, please see,
PC: What you had said
NG: First of all let me tell you, all the people in contention for the Prime Minister’s post, whose names are in the public domain, party, people, all those people have told me that they will contest Lok Sabha elections. And I had said that among those we will think over who should be
PC: If they don’t fight there will be no thought
NG: They will contest, there is no question of not contesting. Already they have spoken to me, from where they will fight.
PC: You have readied the constituency of the people who are the potential Prime Ministerial candidate.
NG: Are thinking form where to contest.
PC: Will you announce earlier or later
NG: That we will do on appropriate time. I will decide what the appropriate time is
PC: Before the election or after the election
NG: That will decide
PC: Party will decide,
NG: The first thing is that I am the president, that is why after consulting everybody in the party, will be decided.
PC: Straight question : All the potential Prime Minister candidates of the BJP, their constituencies are in discussion and have almost been decided.
NG: I understand it as all the people who are potential Prime Minister candidates from our party, all of them are going to fight Lok Sabha elections.
PC: And discussions have happened on those constituencies
NG: Individual discussions keep on happening, on the issue of planning.
PC: You will also be one of them, I presume this
NG: No I will not be there
PC: You name is not there, is it?
NG: Please see, I will fight elections, because some of Delhi media people said that I have not been elected from the public. There is a Marathi channel, in which there was a discussion that I have not fought elections till now, then I felt if that is the case, then I will contest Lok Sabha elections, and I will not go to the Rajya Sabha.
PC: After that you will be PM canidaate
NG: No, I don’t want to become Prime Minister, I have no expectations, I want to work for the party
PC: If the party makes you the President again, then PM candidate, then you have no objection to it
NG: There is no question of me becoming Prime Minister, I am not among those candidates, I do not want to become.
PC: Thank you for coming to our studio.
NG: Thank you, Prabhuji !