Decoding Nitin Gadkari’s “Rather jump in it though” comment
BJP leader and Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari is an incorrigible talker. Despite many controversies over his outspokenness, the former BJP chairman has not learned to choose his words and phrases carefully. He often uttered charged statements that he had no intention or care about how they appeared to the world. On Saturday, Nitin Gadkari again said something that raised eyebrows. “I would rather jump down a pit than join Congress,” he told a room full of entrepreneurs. is not on the same page as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Interior Minister Amit Shah, who many believe had effectively clipped Nitin Gadkari’s wings. By the way, Nitin Gadkari didn’t make the “jumping into a well” comment for the first time. As he said himself, his statement was in response to late Congress leader Shrikant Jichkar’s comment – “You are the right person in the wrong party”. What Shrikant Jichkar had said to Nitin Gadkari applied to him as well. Shrikant Jichkar, who introduced the controversial concept of “zero budget” to Maharashtra as finance minister, was perhaps the most educated politician in the country. Between his MBBS, MD and IAS, he had 20 other college degrees in various subjects in different faculties of study and was a top in many of them. Tragically, Shrikant Jichkar died in a road accident in 2004. Had he been alive, he, too, might well have been seen by the BJP as the right man in the wrong party (assuming he was remained in Congress). He used to lecture on Ramayan, Mahabharat and other ancient Hindu scriptures and had good knowledge of Sanskrit. For this reason, even the RSS liked it. He considered the late RSS ideologue MG Vaidya as his guru and it was Vaidya who performed his marriage. Nitin Gadkari is also known to be close to NCP leader Sharad Pawar and considers the Maratha strongman as his guru. was the right man in the wrong party, Gadkari could have returned the compliment. But in the statement that Nitin Gadkari made to Shrikant Jichkar and continues to do so to this day, there is a part he never says out loud. “I would rather jump into a pit than join Congress” cannot be a stand-alone statement. The unspoken part of this sentence could well be, “…even if I have to quit the BJP (or even the RSS).” At least if we look at the last two years. Seen in this light, if anyone infers that his relations with the BJP have deteriorated over the past two years, Nitin Gadkari himself is responsible for that inference. Nitin Gadkari often says things he may not have intended the way people perceived them. He would do well to remember another controversial statement he made, comparing the IQs of Swami Vivekanand and terrorist Dawood Ibrahim. He had told Bhopal in 2012 that Vivekanand’s and Dawood’s IQs were almost similar but their directions in life were so different. This caused a huge backlash; even the RSS called it a bad comparison. But he also often says things that can only have meaning that he conveys through his choice of language. In 2010, Nitin Gadkari said that RJD leader Lalu Yadav and SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav roared outside like lions but later bowed like dogs and licked the boots of Sonia Gandhi and Congress. After some backlash, Nitin Gadkari walked back his words and said he didn’t mean to offend anyone. to a game of power grabbing instead of being an instrument of socio-economic change. This was apparently not well received by the party. The obvious question is, why did Nitin Gadkari have to make that “jump into a well” statement at an apolitical event for small entrepreneurs? Can’t help but show his displeasure with what the party has done to him in recent years? He will not join Congress. I understood. But is he broken with the BJP or is it something in sight? When do we jump into the well? Of course, when you’re frustrated with life. Does Nitin Gadkari feel this in his political life? Is it possible that he feels or feels suffocated in the BJP and even in the RSS which watches helplessly as he is humiliated in the party? The questions would not have been necessary if Nitin Gadkari had said something like: “The question of joining the Congress does not arise. I am a pucca RSS swayamsevak. I would rather quit politics than betray the RSS. Congress has run out of water in its political well, so to speak. Even if Gadkari were to dive into it, he would eventually hit rock bottom. (Vivek Deshpande worked with The Indian Express and is now a freelance writer.) Disclaimer: These are the personal opinions of the author.