National president of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Nitin Gadkari, who is mired in controversy over dubious sources of funding for his company, evaded the media during his visit to the city on Sunday evening.
The BJP president looked downbeat and avoided eye contact with people, save when he rose to give speeches at the functions he attended.
Security personnel with Gadkari and chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was accompanying national president, literally pushed the media persons aside in an attempt to provide a smooth passage to Gadkari at various venues.
The drama started from the Bhopal airport where Gadkari landed at around 6.30pm on Sunday. He was taken to Ravindra Bhavan for the Ojaswini Foundation programme in a vehicle waiting for him at the airport. Media persons were shoeved aside and some of them even tripped. Similar scenes were repeated when Gadkari entered and left the Ravindra Bhavan as a large number of media persons tried to block his route to ask him questions.
The BJP president continued to evade the media during the Marathi carnival at Old Campion Ground.
While leaving Ravindra Bhavan, when media persons insisted that he should answer their queries, chief minister Chouhan came to the leader's defense, saying that he (Gadkari) did not wanted to speak.
When he sat on the dais in Ravindra Bhavan, Gadkari kept looking at a compilation of Ojaswini magazine most of the time, avoiding any eye contact with audience or others on the dais. Once when Chouhan mentioned him during speech, water resources minister Jayant Malaiya had to attract Gadkari's attention to the speech. When his own turn to speak came, Gadkari delivered a long-winding speech of about 45 minutes, but it seemed quite disjointed. The leader seemed like hopping to different English sayings and more than once mentioned that `no one was perfect'.
Some of his statements like his opening remark that `the present social situation is such that good people do not get appreciated and bad people are not punished' and `if you have to find a sea of unsatisfied souls, you have to look within political parties' left scope for the media to conjecture on his mood. He left Bhopal on a special plane for Nagpur later in the night.