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Modi a role model for the country: Gadkari
Published on 20 Mar. 2010 11:34 PM IST
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Despite the Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi being summoned by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) looking into 2002 Gujarat riots cases, BJP President Nitin Gadkari has praised him as a role model of development.
Speaking to NDTV in an interview, Gadkari said, “The riot case summons to Modi makes no difference; he still remains a role model for the country.” He added that there was no reason why Modi couldn’t hold the highest post in the country one day.
Having to contend with both silent sulks and open attack from within his party, the new BJP president also stoutly defended his choice of people for his new team of office-bearers.
On the controversial inclusion as Secretary of Varun Gandhi, a man the party had in the past sought to distance itself from after his hate speeches, Gadkari said: “Varun Gandhi should be given a chance, why hold the past against him?”
Gadkari also made clear that, “Those who have complaints about the new team should speak to me, not the media,” a barb at partymen like actor Shatrughan Sinha, who had criticised the new president for leaving out “the most deserving people”.
The actor had particularly talked about the exclusion from the team of veteran Yashwant Sinha, saying the team was constituted without consulting “people who matter like my friend and leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj and some other top leaders”.
Gadkari countered the charges by saying: “It’s wrong to say that Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie were excluded because they are Advani detractors... It’s not possible to include everyone on the team.”
The BJP chief, who was reported scrambling for approval from the RSS for his list of office-bearers hours before he announced the names, however, maintained that there was no pressure from the RSS on team selection.
He also sought to clear the air on the inclusion of a number of celebrities as senior office-bearers by saying, “The celebrities we included are also committed party workers, they are not just celebrities.” Getting in people like Hema Malini as Vice President and Navjyot Singh Sindhu and Smriti Irani as Secretaries is seen by many as a move by Gadkari to use known faces strategically in his bid to revive and re-popularise the BJP. The Sangh’s choice of workers is not personality-based.
In the broad-based interview, Gadkari talked about the summons to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi from the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) looking into 2002 Gujarat riots cases. “Modi is a big leader of our party, the SIT summons make no difference”, Gadkari said.
Talking exclusively to NDTV in Mumbai, Gadkari also commented on the issue of partners Shiv Sena targeting non-Maharashtrians in the city. “We believe Mumbai is for all Indians, but just because we have some differences with the Shiv Sena, doesn’t mean it will impact our alliance,” he said.

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