Laid-back leaders, be they in Delhi or elsewhere, will now be required to move out of their “secure city comforts” to “work in villages” and experience life in tents rather than in luxury hotels.
Gadakri, 52, the man who turned out to be a dark horse to head the party, is not shy of telling that he has worked closely with CPI leader A B Bardhan in the trade union movement.
Gadakri aspires to consolidate party’s hold among workers, going beyond the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS). “The BMS is ideologically close but an independent organisation,” he told Deccan Herald recently.
The BJP leader from Maharashtra, who rose from the ranks, is keen that the visible disconnect between the outfit and the people be reversed with the organisation by increasing its vote bank “by at least 10 per cent” among Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, minorities and the unorganised sector.
“We decided to have the Indore national council meet in a tent,” he says. He deflects its political meaning by claiming that space was not available on account of many “marriages in Indore” next month. “No hotel accommodation will be booked by the party,” he says.
Quizzed whether all leaders in the BJP have agreed to “the tent life,” he points out that “Advanji has also approved of it.”
He says the BJP, as an “opposition party, should not only be vigilant but also play a constructive and positive role.”
When asked about Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi’s tours to the impoverished regions in Uttar Pradesh, he said: “Let him do good things.”
When Deccan Herald asked him about the “Congressisation” of the BJP, he rebuts the charge and seeks to know whether anyone like him “has a remote chance” to be party president in the Congress or any other party.
Gadkari, who successfully implemented infrastructure projects in Maharashtra as a PWD minister, says he is interested in developing the party base among the common men.
Asked about the recent crisis in the Karnataka unit of the party, he quips: “I will be visiting Bangalore shortly, as of now I know only of ‘kesari bath’ and coffee” there.
The new office-bearers will have to perform or face the music of Gadkari. There will be “performance audit,” he says. The new team will be in place by February-end.