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

FP

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."

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.

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