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As BJP fights it out, chief holidays in Canada

At a time when a belligerent BJP is leading the NDA charge against the UPA government at the Centre over coalgate, BJP president Nitin Gadkari has left for a two-week private holiday to Canada with his family on Sunday night. Pradip Kumar Maitra reports.

india Updated: Aug 29, 2012 01:39 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra

At a time when a belligerent BJP is leading the NDA charge against the UPA government at the Centre over coalgate, BJP president Nitin Gadkari has left for a two-week private holiday to Canada with his family on Sunday night.

The party has stalled Parliament for six days and is adamant on the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's resignation over coalgate.

Gadkari embarking on a holiday at a crucial juncture has surprised many as it is time for the party to join forces, chalk out strategies and intensify efforts to corner government.

Gadkari himself is embroiled in controversies and has drawn criticism for some of his decisions, including patronising the BJP Rajya Sabha member Ajay Sancheti.

Sancheti, who was involved in Adarsh scam in Mumbai, too got a coal block in Chhattisgarh at a throwaway price and the CAG has in its report criticised the state government for giving it at a very low price.

The saffron party is going ballistic to project Manmohan Singh and the UPA as the villain of the country's biggest scam which caused a loss of Rs. 1.86 lakh crore to the exchequer.

The party has, however, remained silent about its own role in giving out captive coal blocks to Sancheti at a throwaway price leading to the loss of Rs. 1,052 crore.

The CAG report had created a furore in the Chhattisgarh state Assembly a few months ago when the opposition Congress tried to corner the Raman Singh government.

The foreign tour of Gadkari in this crucial period also shocked the RSS headquarters.

However, no one was ready to make an official statement in this regard, for obvious reasons.

Gadkari's wife, Kanchan, sons, Nikhil, Sarang, daughter Ketki, daughters-in-law and a granddaughter accompanied the BJP chief on the tour.

Gadkari has undertaken a few foreign trips since he took over as the BJP chief three years ago. However, those trips were official while the present tour is an exclusively family trip, a close aid of Gadkari pointed out.

"He had made the plans for the current foreign trip long back and it was not possible to cancel the tour at the eleventh hour," justified Sanjay Phanje, a senior state BJP leader.

"It would not be appropriate to make a comment in this regard without knowing the purpose and other details of Gadkari's foreign tour," pointed out the senior RSS leader, MG Vaidya.

Manoj Wadekar, Gadkari's personal assistant said that the BJP chief had gone to Canada, along with family members for a relative's function that was fixed two-three months ago. "As the function was unavoidable for him, the BJP boss would be constantly in touch with the senior members for consultation," he further said. Gadkari would return on September 12.