Speaking at the inaugural session of the National Convention on Good Governance, Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari may have unwittingly launched an unveiled criticism of the functioning of his own party.
Speaking at his style of functioning after taking over the party's presidentship, he said he was striving to make the BJP a party with a difference. However, he didn't seem too happy with the infighting within the party.
Not saying in as many words, Gadkari said, "Ego clashes (within the party) hurt me. Whenever there are ego clashes within two people, I ask them to sit across the table and solve their differences."
He gave this statement while elaborating how his party's 'culture' was different from that of other parties where partymen fawn before the high command leadership to solve their differences.
Gadkari was addressing a conclave of BJP workers and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states; Gujarat (Narendra Modi), Madhya Pradesh (Shivraj Chauhan), Karnatak (B S Yediyurappa), Uttarakhand (Nishank), Himachal Pradesh (Prem Kumar Dhumal) and Bihar (deputy chief minister Sushil Modi).
When rediff.com asked Gadkari if he was referring to infighting within the party when he said ego clashes hurt him, the BJP president said, "It's not my policy to comment on my speeches. I had elaborated the matter during my speech."
The BJP president, however, did not stop at this during his inaugural speech. Continuing to criticise other political parties over their exploitation of caste for electoral gains, and once again trying to make a point how BJP was different from others, he recounted his own personal example where again it seemed that his criticism was directed towards his own partymen.
He said he had once apologised to a woman belonging to the Pardhi community (known for processing liqour, he said) whom he had promised an election ticket -- looking at her dedication for the party -- but could not fulfill his promise because the party thought that "her caste" was not a winnable proposition.
"But that women showed immense magnanimity," Gadkari continued.
"She asked me not to apologise and promised to work wholeheartedly for whosoever candidate the party selected," Gadkari said.
He was also giving this woman's example to expound the virtues of a true party worker's character.
"This woman taught me a lesson," he said. "She made me realise that it is a person's character that makes them stand out in a crowd. Wealth or caste has got nothing to do with greatness. She is my guru. The real test of a party worker's character is proved in adverse situation and this woman has proved her greatness."
Gadkari, while expounding about the party's agenda on good governance, did not spare the Congress for its culture of fawning and prostrating before the leadership and said that he stopped the practice of people touching a person's feet when he became the president.
"Whenever people would come to touch my feet, I would gently dissuade them from doing it. We want a cadre that has character and don't want them to fawn before leaders. I myself touch feet only when I want to and of the people I genuinely respect."
He said that the BJP is a party with a difference and only his party has the capacity to devise and execute an integrated approach for country's development.
Gadkari said that the party should not only appreciate and emulate good work done by their own chief ministers in their respective states but also appreciate and emulate the god work done by even governments run by Opposition parties.