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Personal ambitions ruining BJP: Gadkari

The crisis in the BJP was not because of small leaders but the “over ambitious” senior leaders who were seeking more and more in terms of posts and perks for themselves, said party president Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2010 01:22 IST

The crisis in the BJP was not because of small leaders but the “over ambitious” senior leaders who were seeking more and more in terms of posts and perks for themselves, said party president Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday.

Gadkari’s plain-speak came at a closed-door session on the opening day of the three-day conclave of the party’s national executive near here.

BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad briefed reporters later.

“Our problems come not from small leaders but from the big ones, who have got everything and yet are wanting more at any cost,” Gadkari was quoted as having said.

Who did he mean? He didn’t name anyone.

“The party chief has only sought to present before the conclave the weaknesses of the BJP that will have to go,” Prasad said, adding, “He is asking everyone to think of the party.”

The closed-door session was attended by party seniors such as L.K. Advani and Gadkari’s predecessor Rajnath Singh.

Advani endorsed Gadkari’s statement and said leaders’ egos was the main problem.

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley was also present.

Party sources said Gadkari could be referring to the leadership tussle that followed defeat in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, with L.K. Advani wanting to retire.

Gadkari listed “personal ambition” as the single most debilitating ailment plaguing the BJP.

With the RSS fully behind him, a confident Gadkari bluntly told the leaders instead of seeking to pull down others, they should raise their own bar of performance for optimum result.

He criticised the tendency of leaders to rush to the media with their issues when things did not go their way.

Gadkari’s remark was seen by other BJP leaders as intended to serve as a warning.

At 52, Gadkari is the party’s youngest president. And was brought in by the BJP’s mother organisation, the RSS, to effect a generational change, and give the party a young and dynamic leadership.

Since taking over, he has largely kept his peace with the party stalwarts.

So far, at least.

The Wednesday speech is likely to go down in the party’s history as the equivalent of Rajiv Gandhi’s radical promise to rid the Congress of powerbrokers at his party’s centenary session in 1985.

Have a large heart, Gadkari pleaded with the seniors.

Chote dil se bade kaam nahi hota. (Small hearts and minds cannot achieve big things.) Think of the country first, then the party and yourself last, Gadkari said.

Acknowledging that distribution of ticket during the elections was a sore issue, Gadkari said the ground rule should be that tickets must be given only to those who were popular and could win.

“But, what we find is that everyone seemed to think of their future only and not that of the party,” the party chief was quoted as having said.