The Congress on Tuesday tweeted a video in which Union minister Nitin Gadkari is seen claiming that his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, made “tall promises” before coming to power. The Congress said it was “good to see Gadkari concurring with our view that the government was built on jumlas [gimmicks] and fake promises”.
In another tweet, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said Gadkari was right, and the public also believes that the government had made their dreams and faith a victim of its greed.
In the video clip, Gadkari reportedly says in response to a question on the government’s unfulfilled promises: “Politics is a game of compulsions, limitations and contradictions.” Talking about the 2014 election campaign, he adds: “We were very confident that we can never come to power. So our people suggested us, just to make tall promises. If we come to power, we won’t be responsible anyway! Now the problem is that people have voted us to power. Now people remind us of our promises along with dates. Nowadays we just laugh and move on.”
The video is taken from a new comedy television show called Assal Pavhane, Irsal Namune, which aired on Colors channel on October 5. A clip from the show, labelled “When politics meets cinema”, is available on a streaming website. The show has actor Nana Patekar interviewing Gadkari. Patekar is facing allegations of sexual harassment from actor Tanushree Dutta.
Gadkari goes on to say that honest people cannot make it big in politics. “Those who are honest and capable, they can never make it in politics,” he said. “I admit frankly, when we hand out tickets to candidates, we never examine the person’s character, whether he is corrupt or not. We look at the person’s caste and whether he is a candidate who can win.”
He also claims: “We approach doctors, engineers asking them to contest elections. But they refuse. Then we say, honest people like you do not wish to enter politics. Then why do you protest when the dishonest become politicians?”
Gadkari then recalls that the Muslim community had organised a programme for him in Nagpur in 2014, which was attended by 10,000 people. “Remember, I am a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh,” the minister says he told the audience. “Don’t feel sorry after you vote for me. And you have known me for 25 years. Don’t vote for me if I seek votes based on caste and religion.” The Union minister said he subsequently won 40% of the vote in the constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Gadkari also claims on the show that he is not a politician. “Every politician thinks of his next election,” he says. “[But] every socioeconomic reformer thinks from century to century.”
However, Gadkari on Wednesday denied making such comments, ANI reported. “This is false, I did not say anything on Modi ji or the BJP or Rs 15 lakh,” he said, referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pre-poll promise to bring back black money from abroad and deposit Rs 15 lakh in every citizen’s bank account. He added, “The programme was in Marathi and I wonder since when has Rahul ji starting understanding Marathi.”
Questioning the translation where it first appeared in an English newspaper, Gadkari described it as “baseless”.