Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday described former prime ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Jawaharlal Nehru as “ideal leaders”, and said that all political parties should introspect about their conduct in Parliament.

The Union minister for road transport and highways made the remarks during an interview with Hindi news channel News Nation.

Gadkari was asked for his opinion on the disruption by Opposition parties during the recently concluded Monsoon Session of Parliament. The session saw several disruptions as the central government and the Opposition reached an impasse over discussions on the Pegasus surveillance allegations and the three new farm laws.

He said that while Vajpayee “is a source of inspiration for us”, Nehru’s contribution to India has also been significant.

“Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru were the two ideal leaders of Indian democracy,” the minister said. “Both of them used to say that they will maintain democratic dignity.”


Gadkari recalled the time when he had participated in disrupting the Maharashtra Legislative Council. “When I met Atalji, he told me that this was not the way to act in a democracy and that it was important to convey one’s message to the people.”

During the interview, the senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders said that the disruptions were very unfortunate.

“They [Opposition parties] ask us what we did when were in the Opposition,” the minister said. “That is true...sometimes I say that the nature of the chair is such that whoever sits there behaves the same way. We should all introspect and maintain some dignity.”

Gadkari was the BJP national president between 2009 and 2013. In the recent Cabinet reshuffle, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises portfolio was reallocated to Narayan Rane.

The senior BJP leader’s remark about Nehru stands in sharp contrast to comments made about the former prime minister by Gadkari’s party colleagues. In recent years, BJP leaders have criticised Nehru’s policies related to Jammu and Kashmir and the 1962 war against China.