When BJP president Nitin Gadkari came to Delhi for the first time after his coronation as the president of the main opposition party in December 2009 following RSS’ direct intervention, his promotion was considered as a step towards purification of the BJP. Now, after spending three crucial years in office, Gadkari’s hopes of rising further have been dashed following recent disclosures about his industrial empire.
In the present circumstances, political analysts say Gadkari’s chances of getting a second term have been marred by the corruption allegations and he has become a sitting duck for his opponents within the party as well as opposition leaders like Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh. Singh has already been slapped with a defamation case over his statement on Gadkari’s business nexus. Definitely, the recent disclosures have given a boost to Digvijay Singh who has continuously waged a ‘war’ with Gadkari over his wealth.
BJP veteran LK Advani and opposition leaders in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitely respectively, tried their best to save the face of the BJP and its president by saying that Gadkari’s willingness to face probe into allegations against him is a clear indication of his innocence. But the question is, how can the BJP endorse Gadkari’s second term as party president when there is ample evidence regarding irregularities in his business ‘which started in 1994 in a two room rented accommodation and has been transformed into a big industrial empire worth thousands of crores’. Gadkari has many a times stated in his speech that he ‘knows the magic to convert hundred rupees into thousands and thousands into lacs and crores by innovative ideas and industrious measures’. Now, the kind of innovative ideas and measures he adopted have apparently been exposed, and BJP leaders are escaping the real questions.
The basic question that arises here is - what kind of relations should be there between political parties and business honchos. And when the whole political system is being attacked by anti-corruption activists and when the main opposition party has a bigger role to play in favour of the people, its own house has become tainted following the allegations of misuse of power by its president. How can the BJP be an alternative to the Congress on the issue of corruption? Why is the BJP forgetting the past when a leader like Advani set an example for the cadre by tendering his resignation when his name cropped up in the Hawala scandal. And it’s not been too long since Karnataka CM BS Yeddyurappa and the powerful Reddy brothers were compelled to resign from their respective posts in the wake of alleged illegal mining scandal. The BJP should also not forget what happened with its former president Bangaru Laxman.
It is said that money power is a must to gain political power and it is not unethical and wrong to be a businessman simultaneously while having positions in the political corridor. Indeed, it is not unethical but how can it be ensured that a businessman in a top political position will not misuse power for his benefit? And really, this has become the real bone of contention in deciding to what extent a businessman should be allowed to deal with politicians and in what manner? When we look at the world politics, indeed it is driven by money power. But, when it comes to leading a nation, the experience says the people always prefer real, full time leaders like Barack Obama in America to Julia Gillard in Australia, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, David Cameron in Britain, François Hollande in France, Angela Marcel in Germany, and Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel. No need to say that only he/she will lead the nation who devotes his/her full time in the interest of the people.
So, it is the right time for the BJP and the RSS to introspect and apply real democracy in choosing a ‘real leader’. And really, there is no dearth of leaders in the BJP who have vast experience and settled conviction in the ideology of the BJP and who can lead without facing charges of corruption and dubious character.