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‘I believe in power of political initiatives’

The former BJP president’s foray into the world of writing, therefore, can be seen as the politician’s endeavour of ‘reviving a dream’, of putting forward his ideas for social, economic and political development to the younger generation, the new voters and the urban migrants.

Gadkari, who started out as a party karyakarta, rose through the ranks, becoming the Nagpur Bharatiya Janat Yuva Morcha president in 1981; getting elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Council in 1989; serving as the PWD minister of Maharashtra, when he oversaw the execution of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. In 2004, Gadkari took over as the president of the state unit of BJP, and in 2009, he became the ninth national president of the party, a post he served diligently until Rajnath Singh took over the reins, in 2013. His progressive views, grounded approach to development and issues of poverty, education, population, resource allocation and other matters have been widely praised as example of a balanced model of growth.

In India Aspires: Redefining Politics of Development, Gadkari turns a visionary and tells well-known writer Tuhin A Sinha of some of his unconventional approaches to energy crisis, his advocacy of biofuel, as an alternative source of energy, and a comprehensive plan for natural resources management. Moreover, Gadkari offers a political middle path, saying ‘We need honest leaders who can take hard decisions. Honest leaders who are indecisive are useless. Dishonest and indecisive leaders are a curse.’

Gardari spells out his ideas in clear terms. ‘My quest for solutions led me to adopt the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, popularly known as Build Operate Transfer (BOT), for executing several development projects. Later, the same model was employed elsewhere for what we see today as the Golden Quadrilateral and many roads built by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and other similar projects.’

The political leader says he wrote the book because he wanted to put into practice his core belief that politics in an instrument for socio-economic change. ‘It is not about inter-party or intra-party one-upmanship. Neither is it about empty rhetoric or mud-slinging. Constructive politics must transcend the ambitions of ministerial berths and party posts. There is an urgent need to bring back basic social concerns relating to urban infrastructure, rural needs, environment, health, etc, to the forefront of our political agenda.’ Gadkari reiterates, ‘I believe in the enormous power of political initiatives.’
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