Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday warned party workers that they could not hope to climb the political ladder even as they hit out at others.
In a strongly worded message to his colleagues, at the National Executive Committee meeting here, Mr. Gadkari said one should not try to gain something for oneself at the expense of others. While trying to get something for oneself, one should never attempt to put down a colleague. Apni rekha badi karo, doosron ki choti nahin.
He quoted a poem by the former Prime Minister, A.B. Vajpayee, to drive home the point that small minds could not achieve greatness and those whose will was broken could not stand on their feet. Chote manse koi badi baat nahin hoti, toote manse koi khada nahin hota. It was in this context he said there was no reason for the BJP to be in despair though it had lost two successive Lok Sabha elections. After all, the party was running governments on its own or with allies in nine States.
Mr. Gadkari attacked the Congress for being “soft on terrorism,” especially AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh’s visit to the “villages of terrorists in Azamgarh [in Uttar Pradesh],” spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad quoted the BJP chief as having said, although he admitted that the party’s approach to security issues and terrorism had not paid off in both 2004 and 2009, with the BJP crying hoarse over the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act brought in by the Vajpayee government. But “we cannot stop talking about national security [just] because we lost the election,” Mr. Prasad said.
On Tuesday, Mr. Gadkari began his day in Madhya Pradesh with a visit to Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s birthplace in Mau, a signal that he would try and woo the Scheduled Castes back to the party. Especially in Uttar Pradesh, where the party has not only lost whatever support it may have had among Dalits but is also wary of the upper castes moving towards the Congress.
In his address at the National Executive, Mr. Gadkari said fighting untouchability was not a matter of vote-bank politics for the BJP, but one of social commitment to egalitarianism.
With the recent Pune terrorist strike and naxal violence in West Bengal as reference points, Mr. Gadkari focussed on security, talking about the “red corridor” from Pashupatinath in Nepal to Tirupati in south India.
Quota for women
Earlier, the former BJP president, Rajnath Singh, talked about the ups and downs of the party during his tenure and mentioned that it was the only party which reserved 33 per cent of all posts for women, from the mandal level to national office-bearers and the National Executive Committee (the move was made during his term).