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Gadkari to unveil his vision for BJP at Indore conclave beginning today

india Updated: Feb 16, 2010 09:53 IST
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Having outlined the broad contours of his political thinking, Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) new president Nitin Gadkari is expected to unveil his vision and ideological roadmap for the party at its Indore conclave beginning on Wednesday.

Chosen to head the BJP last December as part of a generational change in leadership after its two successive defeats in the Lok Sabha elections, Gadkari, 52, has refrained from making any tall claims about the party's electoral prospects.

He has instead declared his resolve to work towards bridging the vote difference with the Congress by focusing on minorities, weaker sections and unorganised sector labour through the "politics of development".

One of his more radical and talked-about ideas is a performance audit of national office-bearers. His aides said details of the exercise were still being thrashed out, but Gadkari has indicated that office-bearers in his new team will spend at least 10 days a month in states under their charge. The BJP president is expected to announce his new team after the Indore conclave.

Another of Gadkari's aims is to persuade partymen to view politics not as a means of achieving personal ambitions but "as an instrument of social change".

The BJP went through a phase of inner bickering after the 2009 Lok Sabha poll defeat and Gadkari appears keen to prevent any such recurrence.

"Our president has already outlined that he wants to galvanise the party in multiple ways...bringing more harmony, a functional culture where mutual trust and respect are the cornerstone," Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, a political aide of Gadkari, told IANS.

To address any apprehensions among his colleagues about his ambitions, Gadkari indicated he would not contest elections during his presidential term of three years.

The BJP president emphasised he had not come to Delhi with any agenda but made it clear that he would not be a puppet in anybody's hands.

For a leader who is new to Delhi and national politics, Gadkari has made a few moves to show that he does not want problems in the party to fester.

He called warring leaders from Rajasthan to Delhi and ended their meeting only after ensuring a truce. In Punjab, which is among the states Gadkari has visited since assuming charge as president, he intervened to persuade the Shiromani Akali Dal to agree to the state BJP's demand for rollback of power rate hike for domestic, commercial and industrial consumers.

"He is a good listener and talks frankly. He has raised a ray of hope," party secretary Prabhat Jha, a Rajya Sabha MP, told IANS.

The BJP president's website `' provides telephone numbers and links to reach him.

Party leaders said an obvious advantage for Gadkari was his strong connection with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as it reduces the scope of complaints against a person who has been anointed by the ideological torchbearers of the Hindutva championing fraternity.

However, there is a section which feels Gadkari's informality and openness could be construed as his weakness in the "protocol-conscious" polity of Delhi.

Gadkari has a diverse experience, which is considered a huge strength by his admirers. He has achievements as a minister, entrepreneur and social worker and has risen from the ranks to become the party's youngest president. Before his elevation as party president on Dec 19, Gadkari was chief of the BJP's Maharashtra unit.

"The ready image of a leader in the present day polity is of a particular nature. But he (Gadkari) is a non-conventional politician," said Sahasrabuddhe.

Gadkari, he added, brings with him new energy and has been able to generate a lot of hope in the party.

Gadkari's election as BJP president will be ratified by the party's two-day national council meeting at Indore. The council meeting will be preceded by a meeting of the national executive.