A strong Congress party is necessary for democracy, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said at a recent event, commenting that it was his “sincere wish” that the Congress, battered by serial election losses, became stronger and that its leaders did not switch sides in despair.
Nitin Gadkari also said a weakened Congress meant regional parties taking up the opposition space, which was “not a good sign”.
“Democracy runs on two wheels – the ruling dispensation and the Opposition. A strong Opposition is a need for democracy. Hence it is my sincere wish that the Congress party should become stronger. Also, with the Congress weakened, its place is being taken by regional parties which is not good for democracy. So the opposition should be strong,” the Union Minister for Road Transport said during a Q and A session at the Lokmat journalism awards on Saturday.
“Jawaharlal Nehru is an example. When Atal Bihari Vajpayee lost the Lok Sabha election, Jawaharlal Nehru still gave him respect. So, in a democracy, the opposition’s role is very important,” he stressed, according to The Indian Express.
He also urged Congress leaders “not to lose heart” over defeats and stay with the party.
“I wish with all my heart that the Congress remains strong. Those who follow the Congress ideology should remain in the party and stick to their convictions. They must continue to work and not despair over defeat. If there is defeat, one day there is victory too,” Mr Gadkari said, referring to the Congress’s latest round of election defeats.
He talked about the time the BJP could only win 2 seats in parliament. “But times changed with the efforts of party workers, and we got a Prime Minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee. So one should not abandon one’s ideology in moments of despair,” said the Minister.
Mr Gadkari’s stance is at odds with the unofficial motto of his party – a “Congress-mukt Bharat (Congress-free India)” – which top BJP leaders have often said at election rallies and other platforms.