Nitin Gadkari says party chief responsible for political defeat, two days after 'leadership should own defeat' remark

Union Minister and BJP leader Nitin Gadkari on Monday sparked off a new controversy when he stated that the 'responsibility' of political defeats lay at the doors of the party chief, just two days after he claimed that “leadership should own up to defeat and failures”.

Gadkari was speaking at the annual Intelligence Bureau endowment lecture. The minister for road transport and highways said, “If I am the party president, and my MPs and MLAs are not doing well, then who is responsible? I am.”

 Nitin Gadkari says party chief responsible for political defeat, two days after leadership should own defeat remark

File photo of Union minister Nitin Gadkari. PTI

The comments come after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost three 'Hindi heartland' states — Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh — in the recently-concluded Assembly elections.

On Sunday, Gadkari said, "Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan, as in politics when there is success, there will be a race to take credit but in case of failure, everybody will start pointing fingers at each other. One also has to take the blame for failure and that kind of leadership should be there. (Party) leadership should own up to failures. Until it does so, its loyalty and commitment towards the organisation are not proved."

He issued a clarification for the statement as well stating that he was referring to leadership in the banking industry and not Modi-Shah leadership.

“My full speech in Marathi is available and everything I said was in the context of banking alone. Neither did it (the speech) refer to any elections nor to any political leader. However, a section of the media twisted my statements and even linked it to the recent state elections after conveniently adding up their own content,” The Indian Express quoted him as saying.

He also took to Twitter to say, "In the last few days, I have noticed a sinister campaign by some opposition parties and a section of the media to twist my statements and use them out of context and draw politically motivated inferences to malign my party and me. I have time and again strongly refuted such insinuations and once again condemn all these malafide and mischievous out of context reports attributed to me. "Let me make it clear once and for all that conspiracies to create a wedge between the BJP leadership and me will never succeed," he tweeted. "I have been clarifying my position at various forums and shall continue to do so and expose these nefarious designs of our detractors," he said.

Gadkari is not new to making controversial remarks. On Sunday, the day he accused the media of twisting his words, he claimed that "even a transgender would bear children but an irrigation scheme in Maharashtra's Sangli district would never be completed." The lift irrigation project is about fetching water from the Krishna river basin and irrigating the arid region of Sangli district to increase agriculture production.

Earlier in December, the Union minister made a controversial comment stating that a bulldozer should be run over contractors if they build a bad road. "I told many big contractors that if the quality of roads you build is bad, I will put you under a bulldozer," the minister had said.

In October, Congress president Rahul Gandhi posted a video of Gadkari in which he says in Marathi that his party had made "tall promises". Gadkari, however, clarified stating that the report is “100 percent baseless” and suggested Gandhi to learn Marathi to understand the comments.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 25, 2018 11:24:54 IST