Nagpur: Speaker after speaker who spoke about Nagpur’s beloved ‘son’ and leader Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister, at the jam packed Kasturchand Park today evening, mentioned Gadkari’s outspoken and frank nature and his heedless attitude to life. Including the Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
“I am thinker and a planner – I give deep thought to any project before I implement it, Gadkari is a doer, he goes ahead and acts on his impulses, but he has the knack of getting it right” said Fadnavis.
Gadkari, who looked a mite uncomfortable and awkward when he was being showered with praise from all leaders of the state cutting across party lines, proved them right when he stood up to speak at the climax of the glittering function.
He spoke from his heart, and he was forthright and frank.
“I hate such ‘satkar samaroh’ and I was constantly requesting Fadnavis and Bawankule to not arrange anything big, and not call too many people but they did not listen to me. I am humbled to see so many Nagpurians turn up to ‘bless me’ today – your love overwhelms me” he said.
I am a Common Man, says Gadkari
Nitin Gadkari asserted that he was an extremely ‘common person ‘ of the city who had seen many movies in local theatres sitting in 3rd class and attended plays, but sitting in the balcony! The same Kasturchand park he was being felicitated in, was a venue where he had spent many long nights putting up party posters with friends like Anil Sole. He was awarded by unanticipated success in life, but rues the fact that his mother, who was his main idol and many other friends and benefactors are not with him this day to see it.
“I never strove to market myself… never gave out resumes, made calls or even go to welcome anyone at the Airport. My work spoke for me and took me places. Today, my efforts are appreciated by C.M.s of states ruled by other parties like Mamata Banerjee and C.M. of Kerala and even foreign rulers. ‘Export Gadkari to our country for six months’ they request the P.M.”
” When I entered politics, many well wishers advised me to dress in a particular fashion, talk carefully, conduct myself ‘well’ but I never paid heed. I did what I wanted to and did not dress to impress anyone. I live as I want, say what I feel and behave as the situation demands, whether others accept it or not.
Fish who swim with the current end up being swept into the sea, those who swim against the current are the real ‘zinda dil’ people ” asserted Gadkari.
Speaking after leaders from opposition parties like Sharad Pawar of NCP, Prithviraj Chauhan, Sushilkumar Shinde of Congress, Ramdas Athavale etc. spoke Gadkari said he never toed the party line or took any action purely on party principles.
“Yes, leaders like Sharad Pawar or Shinde and I had ideological differences, but we never had disagreements or arguments. When it came to acting for the benefit of the state and its people we always set aside party differences and worked in tandem.”
“The C.M.of every state thinks I favor his/ her state the most and I am happy about it!”
Shivraj Chauhan and Raman Singh, C.M.s of Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh who were on the dais and who were the only other Chief Ministers from B.J.P. ruled states who were in attendance seemed to agree to this.
“In Parliament too, when I presented the Motor Vehicle Act bill I was praised for it the maximum by a BJD Member of Parliament from Odisha.”
“I am proud to belong to a state that has had leaders like Yeshwantrao Chauhan and Sharad Pawar, even if they are not from my party” Gadkari said at the outset.
He said friendships matter to him the most,more than politics.
“When I hold someone’s hand, I do not leave it, whatever happens” confessed Gadkari.
Jam packed Kasturchand park
There was a crowd of people on and off the dais, who were in Nagpur to felicitate Gadkari on his 60th birthday. Only a few leaders who were touted to attend, were missing. Amit Shah, BJP President did not attend though his name was on the invitations, none of Gadkari’s senior cabinet colleagues were present except Hansraj Ahir, from Chandrapur. Art of Living supremo Shri Ravi Shankar’s name was on the list but he was absent. C.M.s of only two BJP ruled states were present, both Maharashtra’s closest neighbors. One wonders why close friend Parrikar C.M. of Goa did not attend?
Yoga Guru Shri Ramdev Baba did not attend but sent his deputy Acharya Balkrishnaji .
Gadkari accompanied by spouse Kanchan
The Union Minister was seated next to his wife Kanchan Gadkari who was resplendent in a Maharashtrian style green saree with a red border, her hair tied in a jooda with flowers round it.
Seated on one side of the couple was Maharashtra C.M. Devendra Fadnavis and on the other Raman Singh flanked them. Fadnavis’ wife Amruta was in the back row. She was dressed in a glittering silver saree with her hair worn lose.
Just before Gadkari spoke, he and his wife were felicitated by Fadnavis and his wife jointly as is the custom.
He was also presented with a check of Rs. one crore which he said he would match and donate to a worthy cause.
No Ambition left
“I have no big ambitions left. I do not dream of my children following me in politics, in fact I discourage them actively.
I, and many other BJP leaders and workers have really worked hard to establish the party in the state and in the country. There was a time when we used to be jubilant even if one Corporator of our party got elected; now we are everywhere. Gram Panchayat, Zilla Parishad, Municipal Corporations, in Vidhan Sabha and in Parliament. Younger leaders, have had it comparatively easy ” Gadkari said, hinting at Devendra’s dramatic ascension? He did mention that Devendra’s father had been his colleague and together they had seen some pretty hard days.
Lastly, it was worth noting that though Advani’s and Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s names cropped up many times in Gadkari’s speech, as also names of many RSS veterans to whom he continuously swore loyalty and allegiance, Gadkari did not once mention Modi by name, or Amit Shah.
..Pics By Rajesh Bansod