Union Minister of Road and Transport Nitin Gadkari Friday said he is not in the race for the post of Prime Minister as is being widely speculated and that the country was progressing well under the leadership and ideology of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s able hands.
“I am not in the race to be the Prime Minister. PM Modi is the PM and will be the PM even after the elections. I am an RSS man, service to the nation is my duty. We are all behind him [PM Modi]. I am another worker in the fulfilment of his vision. Where does the question of me being a PM arise?” he added.
Gadkari was speaking at the India Today Conclave on Friday.
Talking about the ‘Clean Ganga’ project, Gadkari said, “The flow of water in the Ganga has increased under the Modi government. In 13 months from now, river Ganga will be cleaner.”
Gadkari also clarified his controversial where-are-the-jobs statement, saying he was misquoted by the media as he meant “jobs have lessened after computerisation”.
In August 2018, amid the ongoing demand for Maratha quota in jobs, Gadkari had said that reservation will not guarantee employment as jobs are shrinking in the country. “Let us assume the reservation is given. But there are no jobs. Because in banks, jobs have shrunk because of IT. Government recruitment is frozen. Where are the jobs?” he had said.
Gadkari further said there are several avenues in the country that have great potential. On entrepreneurship, he said, instead of asking for jobs, one should provide them.
Gadkari also said his recent comment on ‘acche din’ (good days) was “misinterpreted”. On January 27, he had said, “Sapne dikhane waale neta logon ko acche lagte hain, par dikhaye hue sapne agar pure nahi kiye to janta unki pitayi bhi karti hai (People love politicians who show them dreams. But if the promised dreams are not delivered, the same people also beat them up).”
He had added: “Isliye sapne wahi dikhao jo pure ho sakein….Mai sapne dikhane waale mein se nahi hu. Main jo bolta hu wo 100 per cent danke ki chot par pura hota hai (Leaders should show only those dreams that they can fulfil. I amm not among those who show dreams. What I say, I deliver 1000 per cent on it).”
The statement was taken as Gadkari’s dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of delivering acche din (good days) in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Saha election.
Reacting to it on Friday, Gadkari said: “My comment was misinterpreted. Someone crafted headlines around it. Why is the gun being fired from my shoulder? I am straightforward. What I want to say, I say it. But I don’t blame you [media]. It is part of your business. No problem.”
Explaining his remark, Gadkari said he had said that there can’t be a 100 per cent solution to any problem. “I said solutions come when you ask for them. We will never be satisfied with the work we do. Acche din is not the same for everyone.”
Gadkari also said the Modi government has made huge progress in road connectivity. On agriculture, he said the sector must diversify into the power sector while adding the current government’s track record in agriculture is impressive.
He also said he has many friends in the opposition, including Congress, as he reiterated that political opponents are not enemies even though they differed over ideologies.
Gadkari will on Friday lay the foundation stone of a Rs 3,580 crore highway project to decongest Delhi. The over 59-km long highway project will start at Ring Road-DND junction and passing through Kalindi bypass and Faridabad-Ballabhgarh bypass it will finish at the interchange of Delhi-Mumbai Expressway at KMP.