I will never become a puppet: Nitin Gadkari
Just over a month since he took over, Bharatiya Janata Party chief Nitin Gadkari has asserted he has "100 percent" support and cooperation of party seniors and there was no move by leaders like Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj to "convert him into a puppet."delhi Updated: Jan 24, 2010 12:25 IST
Just over a month since he took over, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Nitin Gadkari has asserted he has "100 percent" support and cooperation of party seniors and there was no move by leaders like Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj to "convert him into a puppet."
Speaking to Karan Thapar in his "Devil's Advocate" programme for CNN-IBN, Gadkari, who took over Dec 20 last year, denied any move by Jaitley and Swaraj to make him sing to their tune.
Gadkari said: "No, not at all. They don't have such type of intentions. The people who know me know that I will never become a puppet of anybody."
To a question by Thapar if he has the "full support and co-operation of leaders like Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar", Gadkari replied: "100 percent, I'm telling you that all leaders are with me. They are supporting me from the core of their heart. They are guiding me very properly, taking all precautions about my every activity."
Gadkari, who is the youngest BJP president, also claimed he solved the political dissent in the party's Rajasthan unit within days of taking over.
"When I became the president, the Rajasthan problem of differences between the party president and former chief minister (Vasundhara Raje) was solved," said Gadkari.
"Two days before, the (BJP) president of Rajasthan (Arun) Chaturvedi and Vasundhara Raje had come together and they delivered a press conference there."
Gadkari made the claim as Thapar quizzed him on the dissent within the party in states like Rajasthan, Bihar, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Gujarat.
To Thapar's remark that "today the party with a difference looks like a party with sharp differences", Gadkari said: "I'll tell you one thing. We are a democratic party. People are expecting from our party -- a different type of party, which is different from other parties."
Gadkari also sought to brush aside the perception that he was imposed on the BJP as its president by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the party's ideological fountainhead.
"Two months earlier, L.K. Advani had talked to me if I would accept the post of president. Even Rajnath Singh also had discussed the issue with me. Actually, it was a unanimous decision within the party.
"When it was declared that the party is going to select a new person of the new generation, at the very moment my name was fixed. They all discussed about that with me," said Gadkari.
"After that, when I discussed with the RSS they said this is not our choice and rather the BJP have made the choice."
Gadkari also sought to refute the perception that the RSS controls the BJP, saying "it is the image versus reality."
"Lot of people in BJP - the leaders - are the 'swayamsevaks' of the RSS. We have got the ideological relationship. In many a case, we need co-operation from the RSS, and which is a fact. Many a time, we do discuss the issue with the RSS," said Gadkari.