Union minister Nitin Gadkari today rued that various political parties indulge in divisive politics and people still vote on caste lines despite knowing that caste-based leaders hardly contribute to the growth of their community.
Gadkari was speaking at the first convocation ceremony of the post-graduate course in Leadership, Politics and Governance at the Indian Institute of Democratic Leadership.
The institute functions under the aegis of the Rambhau Mhalagi Prabodhini, a training and research academy located near here.
“There are some strengths and weaknesses of our country. Strength is that we are the largest democracy in the world. The challenge is that people are divided on the lines of caste, faith, religion, language and gender.
“Political parties have been engaging in divisive politics for their gains from time to time,” he said.
The minister said a person becomes great on account of values or talent he/she possesses and not because of his/her caste.
“Nobody ever asks the caste of megastar Amitabh Bachchan or (noted poet-lyricist) Gulzar. They are liked because of their performance and art,” he said.
“But at the time of election, people tend to vote for the candidate from their own caste. Those who engage in caste politics or caste-based leaders never help in the betterment of the people of their own caste,” Gadkari said.
“Some people talk of secular values but at the time of elections, they want ticket for their own family members. It is nothing but hypocrisy,” the BJP leader said.
He said candidates should be selected on the basis of their acceptability among people and not keeping in mind their family background.
“I am not saying it is a crime to be a son or daughter of a political leader, but their candidature should be determined by people.”
Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis’ induction in politics happened in the same way, he said.
“His father (a senior BJP leader) was bed-ridden when we approached him and suggested that Devendra, who was then pursuing law, should be given ticket for the local election.
“His parents never forced anyone in the party to give him a ticket. It was the party’s decision to offer him ticket for an election. This is where the BJP is different from other political parties,” Gadkari said.
Both Gadkari and Fadnavis hail from Nagpur.