Rajnath Singh: If Nitin Gadkari was in Delhi, I would not have let him quit

Vivek Deshpande Posted: Jan 29, 2013 at 0021 hrs
Brahmapuri Addressing his first public rally in Vidarbha after becoming the BJP president, Rajnath Singh assured his predecessor Nitin Gadkari — who he said was falsely implicated in a corruption case — that he would never make him feel like a past president.

Describing Gadkari as “sensitive and large-hearted” and a “younger brother”, in response to the latter’s “elder brother” reference, Singh said that Gadkari was not only a regional leader but also that of the entire nation.

“I would never have allowed Gadkari to resign if he were in Delhi when he announced his decision to quit. I was repeatedly telling him that he would become the president. You may or may not be the party president, but the whole country will be with you,” Singh said addressing a rally of farmers and farm labourers.

Singh, who arrived here along with Gadkari, virtually launched the party’s election campaign, calling upon a 5,000 strong crowd to give a chance to the BJP in the forthcoming state and general elections.

“We will roll back the FDI in retail, which is hurting farmers, and bring in a regulator to check prices of seeds and fertilisers,” he said. Promising that the BJP would declare farming a national vocation with status and concessions on par with other vocations like industries, Singh, who has served as agriculture minister in the NDA government, said the BJP would include farm works in the MNREGS, and set up seed bank and laboratory in each district. “Farmers are committing suicide because they are poor and self-respecting. Farmers here are committing suicide despite the Union Agriculture Minister being from Maharashtra,” he said.

Reiterating his party’s resolve to raise the issue of Sushilkumar Shinde’s ‘saffron terror’ remark, Singh dared the Union Home Minister to ban the RSS and BJP.

“Shinde’s remarks have helped Pakistani terrorists,” he said.

Gadkari blamed “wrong economic policies” of the government for farmers’ suicide. “Gosikhurd is a national irrigation project located at Vidarbha. It was started in 1988 and hasn’t been completed yet, depriving Vidarbha’s farmers of water. When I wrote to the Central government to release funds for the project, I was criticised and told that I am doing it for contractors,” he said.

Later, Singh visited the RSS Smruti Mandir complex. No senior RSS leader was reportedly present in Nagpur.