Ashok Gehlot to BJP: Follow Nitin Gadkari's example
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday hoped that more BJP leaders would follow Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s example and summon the courage to speak the truth about the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duopoly.
“I think that whatever Nitin Gadkari has said is his well-considered view. When the government is on the verge of exit, the truth lying dormant in hearts comes to the lips,” Gehlot tweeted in Hindi.
“Not only Gadkari, it must have pricked the conscience of many other (BJP) leaders. They would be thinking of speaking the truth in the BJP’s interest.”
He added: “They can show courage like Gadkari and place the truth before the nation -- what is happening inside their party, how much internal democracy is left... how the PMO bureaucracy is all-important, how ministers have been insulted. Two people are ruling the country: Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. These two have dragged the country to the path of destruction.”
Gadkari, who holds a host of portfolios including surface transport and shipping, hasn’t said anything directly about the Prime Minister or the BJP president. But several of his recent comments have been construed as subtle criticism of Modi’s failure to keep poll promises and Shah’s inability to lead the party to victories in the latest round of state elections.
He has argued that team leaders should take responsibility for failures and defeats, and observed that people tend to teach a lesson to leaders who make false promises. He has also described tolerance as India’s biggest asset.
Gadkari is widely seen as a potential consensus candidate for Prime Minister, heading a coalition government, if the BJP fails to win a majority but emerges as the largest party after next year’s general election.
Gehlot said the Modi government would be remembered for its jumlas (gimmicks or hyperbole) alone.
“There is an atmosphere of insensitivity, hatred and violence all around. The income-tax department, ED (Enforcement Directorate) and other agencies are being misused,” he said.
“Computer, WhatsApp, social media are all under surveillance.... The whole country is frightened.”
Till recent years, it was unusual for a chief minister to launch such a frontal attack on the Prime Minister other than during election campaigns.
It was Modi who, as Gujarat chief minister, may have set the precedent through his biting comments on then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Modi had gone to the length of attacking Singh on Independence Day in 2013 to try and establish himself as his main challenger.
The trend has continued, with Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu excoriating Modi after quitting the NDA, calling him a “fake and hollow” politician who had wilfully misled the nation.
Gehlot, who held a key position in Rahul Gandhi’s core team as general secretary in charge of the Congress organisation, also referred to the miserable plight of the youth and farmers.
“The farmers are distressed, committing suicide. They are unable to handle debt and their crop is not fetching adequate prices. The youth are not getting jobs. The Prime Minister talks about doubling the farmers’ income in 2022 though he has the mandate only till 2019,” he said.
“This is not a healthy tradition. People have realised that these leaders are good at making lofty, false claims and they will be remembered for that.”