Yojna Gusai, Age Correspondent
New Delhi, 30 January 2012. At a time when the BJP is missing its patriarch and former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee whose charisma and mass appeal were considered great vote-catchers, BJP chief Nitin Gadkari is hopeful that the party’s second generation leaders, like Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, her counterpart in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, will help in filling the vacuum.
Mr Gadkari is also of the view that senior leaders, including BJP parliamentary party chairman L.K. Advani, senior leaders Rajnath Singh and M.M. Joshi are also “effective” leaders like Mr Vajpayee.
“… it is unfortunate that Vajpayeeji is not in good health… we all miss his active involvement… but then the party has many capable second generation leaders, who have been inspired by Vajpayeeji and will lead the party and the nation in future,” said Mr Gadkari.
It could be mentioned that Mr Vajpayee’s name tops the list of BJP star campaigners for the Assembly polls in five states including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab. During the 2009 Lok Sabha polls the BJP had issued an appeal on Mr Vajpayee’s behalf to voters of Lucknow (Mr Vajpayee’s constituency) to vote for the BJP candidate.
Mr Gadkari, who has been campaigning in the poll-bound states along with senior leaders of the party, also sees the Assembly polls in five states as the “semi-finals” before the 2014 General Elections. Hopeful that his party will perform well in the five states, particularly in UP and will retain power in Uttarakhand and Punjab (with ally SAD), Mr Gadkari said the “aam admi now knows the real face of the Congress-led UPA government.”
Criticising the ruling Congress for failing at all fronts including economy, bringing down inflation, action against corrupt and implementing development schemes in rural areas, Mr Gadkari said his party has a vision document for the nation. “… you need a vision based on ground realities and effective people to implement it… making tall promises helps no one,” said the BJP chief.