NEW DELHI: Concerned by Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s recent tongue-in-cheek comments, which were seen as criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP President Amit Shah, the top brass of the saffron party is understood to have counselled him to observe restraint in making public comments.
Recently the BJP brass was said to have sent an emissary to Gadkari to convey its message.
Sources said Gadkari had told the emissary that his comments were not directed at either Modi or Shah and insisted that it was taken out of context. They added that after this sort of fence mending, Gadkari was asked to present the political resolution of the party at the recently concluded two-day national convention in the national capital, which was unanimously adopted calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi an “honest and courageous” leader who was being challenged by an “opportunist alliance” whose leader is unknown.
After Gadkari introduced the resolution, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hailed Modi and Shah’s leadership while speaking on the resolution.
Gadkari, who is considered close to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, has been in the news for his comments which were widely seen as an attack on the Modi-Shah duo.
Delivering the annual endowment lecture to the Intelligence Bureau after BJP’s defeat in the Hindi-heartland states, Gadkari had said, “If I am the party president and my MPs and MLAs are not doing well, then who is responsible? I am.”
Gadkari’s remarks, seemingly directed at Shah, came days after his comment that “leadership should own up to defeat and failures”. He, however later clarified that his remarks were taken out of context.
He had also said that he liked the speeches of first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. His remark came even as Modi and Shah spare no opportunity in attacking Nehru on various issues.
On one occasion, he had said that “tolerance is the biggest asset of the Indian system”. The BJP has been accused by its critics of fostering a culture of intolerance in the country.