Corruption a social, not political, problem: Nitin Gadkari

In a conversation with anchor Ashutosh Rana, BJP leader Nitin Gadkari talked about reasons behind increasing corruption in India.

Biplob Ghosal

The 2014 General Elections and a host of Assembly Elections before that are around the corner and if one can go by the mood of the nation, corruption will be one of the major factors that would determine the outcome of the polls. Corruption has progressively increased and is now rampant in our society. The common man blames politicians and bureaucrats for the mess. To analyse the present situation, Zee Media through its programme ‘Nishane Pe’ interacts with the politicians who have been accused of various crimes, and asks them to respond to the charges.

In a conversation with anchor Ashutosh Rana, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nitin Gadkari talked about reasons behind increasing corruption in India and possible solutions to the menace.

The first question that Ashutosh Rana asked Nitin Gadkari was - Has corruption become a part of our DNA? Maintaining that tackling corruption is a major issue, the ex-BJP president said that there has been degradation of morals and values amongst the people. He further laid emphasis on imparting good education and social values to the young generation of this nation.

Rana quoted a survey report which said that 86 percent people feel that political parties are corrupt and asked Gadkari as to what was the reason behind the menace – was it because the people of this country were corrupt or was it because there was something inherently wrong with the system. Gadkari replied that politicians too came from the society, which needs to change, and vote for good people.

Gadkari, who was frank while replying to the questions, said that in this country one can promise not to take money (bribe), but cannot assure of not giving money to get a job done. He stressed on making the system transparent, bringing improvement in information technology and demanded performance audit of the officials. He totally rejected the fact that only politicians were involved in illegalities and said that corruption was a social and not a political problem.

On the allegations of corruption against him, Gadkari, who served as the Minister of Public Works Department (PWD) in the Maharashtra government from 1995 to 1999, completely denied all the charges and vociferously said that it had been six months, but not a single charge has been proven against him. “I will quit politics if any of the allegations are proved,” a confident Gadkari said.

The former BJP president also accused media of tarnishing the image of a person without waiting for the court verdict. He slammed the trend of media trial, saying that all this is happening because of the 24X7 coverage and the competition between different channels to come first in the race of breaking news.

On being asked whether the political system or society should take the blame for the muddle, the newly-elected Delhi BJP election in-charge said that there has been a decline of societal values and strangely quoted the example of Right To Information Act, saying that such initiatives have been taken by the institutions, which have brought in awareness and change. Rana was quick to question the BJP leader on the cases like 2G spectrum allocation scam, Coalgate row and Commonwealth Games, in which political personalities were found to be involved. Gadkari simply replied that whatever the case may be, the government institutions should be allowed to complete their probe and courts should have the final call.

Putting forward the corruption charges levelled against ex-BJP leader and former Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa, Rana further questioned Gadkari on the moral authority of the BJP to target Congress on host of corruption issue. To this, Gadkari replied that charges had still not been proved and once again criticised media for going overboard and conducting a trial on its own.

He further said that it is not practically possible to give tickets only to clean people. He admitted that some candidates were selected or given tickets despite being involved in corruption practices. However, the BJP leader added that political parties shouldn’t encourage such people and groom such persons to become honest.

When asked if India will ever be a corruption free country, Gadlkari said: “Wrong things will continue in the society, it can be lessened but not eradicated,” adding that people should come forward with positivity to usher in the change.