Gadkari set to contest LS poll

Silencing critics who often criticise him for taking the “Upper House” route to the Maharashtra Legislature, BJP national president Nitin Gadkari on Saturday announced that he would contest the Lok Sabha poll.
After weeks of speculation that he might contest the Nagpur Lok Sabha seat in the 2014 polls, Gadkari said, “I would like to get elected from among the people.”
Gadkari made his debut in the electoral politics of Maharashtra in 1990, by becoming a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council (MLC) from the graduates’ constituency at the age of 32. He retained his seat in 1996, 2002 and 2008. In 2002, he was elected unopposed.
Gadkari’s announcement is bound to spark speculation in national political circles that he is also in the race for the
BJP’s prime ministerial nomination, though he has steadfastly denied nursing any such ambitions.
In an interaction with the media at a traditional pre-Diwali get-together, Gadkari said, “Even now, I am leading the country as the BJP president. Beyond this, I have no desire for any other leadership.” Asked about when the BJP would name its prime ministerial candidate, Gadkari said, “When the need arises, we will decide (the candidate) in a fraction of a second.”
Gadkari said he had lost 10 kg after his recent bariatric surgery in Mumbai for treatment of type II diabetes. “But only you can tell how much political weight I have gained,” he said, in a lighter vein.
The party chief, however, dismissed a query on the arrest of ex-Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa on corruption charges, through a counter poser, asking, “I question you: What corruption has Yeddyurappa done? From whom did he take money? He is fighting a legal case. One cannot compare his case with Congress’ corruption cases.” Gadkari said his party acted swiftly in matters relating to Yedyyurappa. “When the Lokayukta report came, we asked him to quit,” he said.
Asked to comment on the recent attacks against Team Anna members, Gadkari said they reflected the Congress’ “vindictive attitude”.
He added, “Be it the anti-corruption campaign by Hazare or Baba Ramdev, there is a natural reaction among the masses against corruption and its effect would be seen in the ensuing elections.”
He denied that relations between him and senior BJP leader from Maharashtra Gopinath Munde had soured. “There are no differences between us,” Gadkari said.

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