Anna's fast would have been crushed, if not BJP: Gadkari

GOANEWS & PTI, PANAJI | 04 November 2011 19:49 IST

BJP president Nitin Gadkari today claimed that Congress would have dealt with Anna Hazare's fast at Ramleela Maidan the same way it dealt with Baba Ramdev's fast, had the main opposition party not declared support to Hazare.

"If I had not given letter of support to Anna Hazare, he would have faced the same fate as Ramdev," Gadkari said during an interaction at three-day Goa Think Fest 2011 here, organised jointly by Tehelka and Newsweek.

He was interviewed by NDTV group editor Barkha Dutt. 

"Congress went on saying that BJP did not support Hazare till we gave the letter," Gadkari said, claiming that some Congress leaders had told Team Anna that BJP was not with Hazare.

"Congress's strategy was to finish Anna's agitation."

BJP was the first political party to support Hazare's fast as it was in the interest of the country, Gadkari said.

Referring to allegations of nexus between Hazare and RSS, he said, "Sangh had said that they are with whoever who is fighting against the corruption."

He also said that he did not mind Hazare distancing himself from BJP. "I am not upset, whether he distances himself or not," he said, adding that the party would stand by any person who acts in the interest of the country.

Replying to another question, Gadkari said though he believes in Hindutva, he does not go to temple, or even perform a puja.

"I don't go the temple. I don't perform puja," Gadkari said.

The BJP President, however, defended his party's politics of Hindutva.

"Hinduism is a way of life. It is not about a religion," he said, adding that "political Hindutva is a debatable subject".

"We are a nationalist party. We have a lot of socio-economic thinking in our party," Gadkari said.

Contending that media had projected a wrong image of BJP vis-a-vis Hindutva, Gadkari said the reality was different.

"Media keeps on labeling us. May be, we have not been able to reply to their allegations properly."

Swearing by his humble beginning in the politics, he said that he did not aspire to become the Prime Minister or even a Chief Minister.

To a question, he said he would not mind visiting Pakistan, if invited.

"I hope for progress and development of Pakistan," he said, adding that if neighbouring countries like Bangladesh prospered, it would benefit India.

"I had once jokingly said to a friend that if Bangladesh prospers, at least all those Bangladeshis staying illegally here will go back." Think Fest 2011, a three-day conclave, began in Goa today.

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