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I Never Compared Modi And Gandhi: Gadkari

PTI 31 Jan 2010, 16:41:10 PM IST

 A day after BJP President Nitin Gadkari compared Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, he has now done a quick backtrack. "I never compared Modi and Gandhi," he has said.

On his first visit to Gujarat as BJP president, Nitin Gadkari on Saturday drew parallels between Mahatma Gandhi and Narendra Modi, saying both believed that politics was an instrument to alleviate poverty.

Gadkari, whose visit coincided with the 62nd death anniversary of the Mahatma, also said that Gandhi and BJP's founding father Deen Dayal Upadhyaya believed in the same ideals of national unity and equality.

"I am happy that I am at Mahatma Gandhi's birthplace today and I also had the opportunity to unveil a statue of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya. Both were men who thought national unity of foremost importance. Like him, Gandhiji believed that politics should be used as a tool of socio-economic development and not as an instrument of power.

"Alleviating poverty should be the end of all politics and a living example of that ideal is Narendra Modi who is working tirelessly for the same goal," Gadkari had told reporters while inaugurating a special exhibition of sand sculptures depicting the life and values of the Mahatma.

Gadkari and Modi also attended the 34th Garib Kaliyan Mela in Porbandar and the Chief Minister said that as Gujarat celebrates its golden anniversary poverty alleviation is his prime goal.

"We are providing relief worth Rs 1500 crore to more than 50 lakh families through the Garib Kalyan programme. I have taken it upon myself to organise 50 more melas," said Modi.

Earlier, both of them attended a prayer meeting at Kirti Mandir, Mahatma's birth place in Porbandar town.

The exhibition of sand sculpting has been organized with a theme of Gandhian values and Modi announced that it will be made into an annual event with next year's theme being 'Gandhi and the Environment'.

Gadkari on Sunday  refused to comment on RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's "Mumbai for all Indians" remark saying he would have to first speak to him on the issue. 

"I will first speak to the RSS chief on what he has said, understand what his views are and then react," Gadkari told reporters when asked for his reaction to the RSS stance in the wake of claim by Shiv Sena, his party's ally in Maharashtra, that Mumbai belonged to Marathi speaking natives. 

Asked whether there had been a "clash" between RSS which had spoken about protecting north Indians in Maharashtra and Shiv Sena talking about protecting the interest of Marathi speaking people, he said, "There is no clash between both." 

Bhagwat had said, "Mumbai is for all Indians. People of all languages, communities, tribes are children of India... Nobody can prevent Indians from moving to any part of the country in search of employment." RSS has also issued a directive to its workers to protect north Indians in Maharashtra and prevent spread of anti-Hindi feelings, according to RSS leader Ram Madhav. PTI