Will leave politics, if proven guilty, says Nitin Gadkari

If society is corrupt and decaying, politics and politicians cannot remain immune from it, declared Nitin Gadkari on Nishane Pe.

Former BJP president tells # BBV if there is social decay, politics cannot remain immune!

Zee Research Group / Delhi

Politicians don’t come from heaven. They are part and parcel of the society. And if society is corrupt and decaying, politics and politicians cannot remain immune from it, declared Nitin Gadkari on Nishane Pe in a candid conversation with Zee News anchor Ashutosh Rana. The former BJP chief who is facing allegations of corruption and dubious funding vis-a-vis his company – The Purti Group – also defended himself and challenged anyone to prove him guilty.

“There are no allegations on me or cases against me. I have openly said initiate inquiry against me. If any charges are proved, I’ll leave politics,” declared Gadkari on the show, which is to be aired tonight at 10pm on Zee News.

Guest anchored by filmstar Ashutosh Rana, ‘Nishane Pe’ has been formatted to initiate heart-to-heart conversation with a notable political personality on various issues confronting the Aam Aadmi – Bharat’s Bhagya Vidhatha. The previous edition of the show hosted Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit on the issue of safety.

On being confronted by Rana whether corruption is part of our dna, Gadkari stressed that any anti-graft movement is futile unless the character of society changes. Education system has a critical role to play in shaping moral character of the people.

“Character building is crucial in the fight against corruption. It begins at home and school. But, at present, our education system is devoid of teaching ethics and morality. It’s a travesty that honest don’t get rewarded while corrupts go scot-free,” he said.

Gadkari, however, doesn’t agree with the results of a recent survey that political parties are at the core of corruption. For him, corruption is a social and not a political problem. He raises a counter-question: while political parties will think in terms of winnability of a candidate, good and honest people don’t get elected?

“There is no denying the need for making the system more transparent and bring in good laws like the RTI. But, if there is overall moral degradation in society, then politics cannot remain immune from it. Politicians come under scanner because they are more exposed in social life than others.”

Defending his Purti Group and its funding in the interview, the former BJP president (also known as “flyover man” for his extensive infrastructure work in Mumbai and Maharashtra) insisted that Purti works on a cooperative model of business and the charges of dubious transactions are baseless.

“Purti has 12,000 shareholders and my investment is just Rs 3000. Ours is a cooperative model of business. More than six months after allegations were levelled against me and my company, nothing has been proved.”

But, shouldn’t the same principle “innocent until proven guilty” apply to other politicians in the 2G Spectrum scam, the 2010 Commonwealth Games scam et al? While agreeing with the cardinal judicial principle, Gadkari questioned the government of the day’s policies which have led to economic stagnation and decline.

“Absolutely! But, if a politician is proved guilty, then he must take the blame. What is a bigger cause for concern, however, is the incumbent government’s ineptness in handling economy which has caused an overall decline in manufacturing, mining, industry, export-import imbalance. The government has failed miserably on all economic fronts.”

Gadkari, however, agrees that political parties have a role to play in the fight against corruption and creating moral awareness in the crusade. Programme like Bharat Bhagya Vidhata in media too will serve the cause.

“People with both good and bad credentials will join parties. A party must reward honest and hardworking cadre. It simultaneously needs to train cadre and impart them with moral teaching.”

(The show airs on Friday 10pm @ Zee News and the repeat is @ 9.30pm)