BJP president Nitin Gadkari’s just-concluded ministerial conclave may just have turned out to be a damp squib with many top leaders skipping it.
The meet was being touted as Gadkari’s dream meet on governance as the BJP president’s plan was to bring all central leaders and state Chief Ministers under one roof for discussions on governance, many top central leaders skipped the conclave for a variety of reasons.
Senior leader L.K. Advani —who was to deliver the valedictory address on the second day — failed to turn up. “He told Gadkari that he would not come, and someone else should conclude the session,” said an Advani aide, who denied reports that Advani was unwell. Speculations were rife that the fact that Manohar Parrikar —who had reportedly called Advani “rancid pickle” last year, a charge he denies — was involved in the conclave as governance cell convenor, made Advani disinclined to attend it.
Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley could not make it because of the death of his brother-in-law.
Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha was to present the charter on good governance at the conclave — something that had been announced well in advance — but he went to Kullu and did not turn up at the conclave. Former BJP president Rajnath Singh, who was in Mumbai, did not turn up at the venue, though senior party leaders say he did not have a formal role to play in any session there. “He had gone there for a marriage, and also attended a function of Kirit Somaiyya since he was there,” said an aide of Singh.
However, all Chief Ministers except Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh — whose father had passed away — were present. Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj was present. Venkaiah Naidu and Ananth Kumar, too, were present.
There were reports that Gadkari criticised the lack of coordination between senior leaders at the meet. However, a top party leader denied this. “He just called for good coordination among leaders,” he told HT.