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RSS chief on graft: ‘Point isn’t how much money,but how it is used’

Vaidya appeared to back Gadkari,saying the allegations of corruption were only in the media

While raising the issue of corruption at its Vijayadashami celebrations on Wednesday,the RSS refused to be drawn into the controversy surrounding BJP president Nitin Gadkari,calling it an “internal matter of the party”. Gadkari,who shared the dais with the RSS top brass at the function,kept quiet when asked whether he would step down as suggested by BJP MP Ram Jethmalani.

“I have already touched on the issue of corruption (in general) in my speech and if you want to know more,you can speak to Manmohan Vaidya,” Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat told reporters.

Vaidya appeared to back Gadkari,saying the allegations of corruption were only in the media. “It’s a media trial. One doesn’t know if (the charges) are factually correct. They haven’t been substantiated yet. But Gadkari as individual and the BJP as party have to answer the questions raised.”

Asked about Ram Jethmalani’s demand for Gadkari’s resignation,Vaidya said: “Jethmalani isn’t the party. And the issue isn’t being discussed in the party forum as such.”

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In his speech,Bhagwat said: “It’s not important how much money has been earned. It’s important how it has been put to use,whether it has been put to good use or not.” Gadkari has claimed that his business was a social enterprise to help distressed farmers.

Bhagwat’s address also stressed the importance of character building as well as systems in fighting corruption. In an indirect criticism of the Arvind Kejriwal-led India Against Corruption,the Sarsanghachalak warned against employing anti-corruption protest methods that could lead to “aversion to system.” “Else,situation similar to Middle East countries where fundamentalists and foreign forces have created anarchic situation (could develop),” he said.

Incidentally,Gadkari had voiced similar opinions during an interaction with The Indian Express recently. “The problems in the country are not because of the system — it lies within the society. Politicians belong to the same society,where we have seen a progressive deterioration in human values,” Gadkari had said.


Laying stress on value-based conduct,Bhagwat asked,“Do we reflect on ourselves? Do we discharge our duties as a society? We will have to rise and demonstrate examples of value-based conduct. Change will happen if we begin with our homes.”

The RSS chief also sought to blame the media. “For every one bad thing,there are ten good things happening in the country. But good things don’t make news,” Bhagwat observed.

He invoked seven “original sins” according to Mahatma Gandhi to make his point. “Politics without principles,property without work,pleasure without conscience,knowledge without character,commerce without ethics,science without humanity and worship without sacrifice seem to mark the socio-political scenario today,” he said.


Reserving large part of his address to problems of Hindus and national security,Bhagwat sought an early law for a Ram temple at Ayodhya. “Only Ram temple will come up there,” Bhagwat said,warning against politics of votes or “driving of a wedge”. “Anything to be built for Muslims must happen outside the cultural boundaries of Ayodhya.”

The RSS chief claimed attempts to “resuscitate terrorism” in Kashmir,and said the same was happening in the Northeast. He also raised the “protests in favour of anti-India forces in Mumbai”.

Opposing FDI in retail,he said small Indian traders will not be able to fight the power of international giants. “We are not initiating real reforms like tax and electoral (changes),” Bhagwat said.

Singapore envoy attends RSS meet

The surprise highlight of Wednesday’s programme was Singapore Deputy High Commissioner and Minister Chancellor Jonathan Tow’s presence at the function. According to RSS communications wing official Sudhir Pathak,Tow had himself expressed the desire to attend the programme. Referring to him,Bhagwat said,“Why can’t we achieve the kind of disciplined honesty and cleanliness in our country like they have done in Singapore?”

First published on: 25-10-2012 at 03:07:52 am
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