Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday raised concern about opportunistic politicians wanting to remain associated with the ruling party of the day and said such “deterioration in ideology” was not good for democracy.
He also said there are leaders who stand firm in their ideology but their number is gradually declining.
“I always say this jokingly that no matter which party’s government it is, one thing is sure that the one who does good work never gets respect and those who do bad work are never punished,” Mr Gadkari said, without taking names, PTI reported.
The minister was addressing an event organised by the Lokmat media group in Mumbai to present awards to parliamentarians for their exemplary contributions.
“In our debates and discussions, differences of opinion is not our problem. Our problem is lack of ideas,” the senior BJP leader said.
“There are people who stand firm with conviction based on their ideology but the number of such people is declining. And deterioration in ideology, which is happening, is not good for democracy,” he said.
“Neither rightist nor leftist, we are known opportunists, some people write like this. And all want to remain associated with the ruling party,” he added.
Gadkari further said that India is the world’s largest democracy and in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words, India is the mother of democracy.
“It is because of this speciality, our democratic governance system is an ideal for the rest of the world,” he added.
Nitin Gadkari said politicians come and go but it is the work they have done for the people of their respective constituencies that eventually matters and brings them respect.
“Publicity and popularity are necessary but how they work for the people in their respective constituencies is more important than what they speak in Parliament,” he said.
Gadkari praised RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s oratory and said he has also learnt a lot from former defence minister George Fernandes’ “behaviour, simplicity and personality.” “After Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the person I was impressed with a lot was George Fernandes,” he said.
Gadkari also praised former Bihar chief minister Karpoori Thakur, who was recently conferred the Bharat Ratna posthumously, and said such people have made the country’s democracy strong.
“After stepping down as chief minister, he (Thakur) travelled in an auto-rickshaw and his condition was very ordinary,” he said and suggested that political leaders should take inspiration from such people.
“Today I feel that our democracy is going to be very strong after so long…. We all have the responsibility to raise the dignity and respect of Parliament,” he added.
Addressing the event, Union minister Ramdas Athawale said that in politics leaders keep switching parties. “It is not known which MP will move to which party and when,” he said.
“I am going to remain in power. I know which party is going to form its government,” Athawale, whose RPI (Athawale) is an NDA ally, said in a lighter vein.
Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor of the Congress and Rajya Sabha member Sasmit Patra of the BJD were conferred the best parliamentarian of the year awards at the event.