‘People have seen pace of progress, party will win 370 seats’

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari says he is social worker first, then a politician, and advocates the need for a third term for Modi govt for massive infra push.
Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari
Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari File Photo

Union Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari calls himself as a social worker rather than a politician. One of the top performing ministers in the cabinet, Gadkari not only predicts a third term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi but also a BJP win in more than 370 seats.

Taking time off his campaign schedule in Nagpur, Gadkari tells Rajesh Kumar Thakur that he firmly believes in “empowerment politics.”


You are seeking a third term from Nagpur. How is the ‘josh’ (enthusiasm) among the people?

The ‘janata ka josh’ for the right person always remains high. People in Nagpur appreciate development which our government has been carrying forward at a break-neck speed. People want to be part of ‘Viksit Bharat’, and of course, a more ‘Viksit Nagpur.’

What are your expectations in this election?

This election is for development. I see politics as a tool for bringing prosperity to the people in terms of development, infrastructure and whatever people need for living a dignified life with a higher degree of ‘ease of living’ and ‘ease of doing developments’. In

Nagpur, the people have seen development and they say more and more development is the need of the hour.

I never discriminate against people based on their caste, creed, or anything else. I have been a trusted and delivery-oriented person. I expect to win by more than 5 lakh votes this time.

A video recently surfaced across social media in which a handicapped Muslim man is heard thanking you for support that enabled him to eke out a living. How do you manage to render such services amid political engagements?

I have been a natural social worker. This is the time when we need to redefine politics. For me, ‘power politics’ is not real politics. Social transformation comes with good services to poor people, by facilitating and participating in cultural programmes and sports activities, besides other people-centric works. I take politics as an instrument of socio-economic reforms.

Many people, especially those belonging to a minority community, say they vote for Gadkari, without knowing which party he belongs to…

I take this as their affection for my ability to build trust with them and for my work for the welfare of all. For me, no caste, religion, language, gender, party or ideology matters as much. I believe in ‘sab mera hai aur mae sab ka hu (all are mine and I am for all).

The BJP claims it will win more seats in southern India. What are your expectations?

We are expecting a good number of Lok Sabha seats from South, particularly Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The people in these states have more trust in the party. They have seen the developmental model of PM Modi and how country has performed in all sectors of economy to emerge a global power in the last decade. This is the party that believes in ‘nation first’ whereas other parties think politics comes first.

How many seats do you think the BJP would win in the parliamentary elections?

The BJP will go above 370 and along with our allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will cross 400 seats. People agree with our vision of a ‘Viksit-Bharat’ free from corruption. The people have seen our government’s works in all sectors in the last decade under the leadership of PM Modi. My ministry is only one such wing that has set an example of performance.

What are the core issues on which the BJP-led NDA is eyeing the third consecutive term?

The core issues develop around developmental works accomplished now and the ones we plan to achieve. You may draw a comparison between 60 years of the Congress with the 10 years of Modi and BJP-led government at the Centre. The people are well convinced that only the BJP and Modi ji can change the future of this country.

Now, developmental issues are more concerned. “Garibi ka koi dharma nahi hota, na hi jaat or na hi koi bhasha’ (poverty has no religion, caste, or language). We need to create an economy that creates more jobs, solves people’s problems and eradicates poverty.

Can you cite some big development works done by your ministry in the last 10 years?

Lots of works are now open to be seen and believed. Nagpur has emerged not only as a hub of education and industry but also works related to aviation. Whatever infrastructure in road, communication highways and other subsidiary parts is seen now is all about our performance. Corridors like the Delhi-Mumbai Express, Ahemedbad-Dhoelra, Bengaluru-Chennai, Delhi-Amritsar, and many more speak of our ministry’s performance in line with the vision of PM Modi. We are using many green materials in national highway construction, which is the first-of-its-kind green move.

There are major projects related to boosting religious and tourism connectivity taken up by our ministry. They are: Ram-Van Gaman Marg (155km) to be completed by March 2025 at a cost of Rs 4,700 crore, the Ram-Janaki Marg costing `5,000 core with a deadline of completion by September 2025, Ayodhya Parikarma (235km) by December 2025, the Baraj 84 Kosi Parikarma Marg (300km) to be completed by December 2025 at an estimated cost of Rs 5,000 and the Buddha circuit (419 km).

Besides, the Kailash Mansarover (366 km) stretch is to be completed with an estimated cost of Rs 9,500 crore by March 2025. In a total, 10 such projects have been taken up and some of them have already been completed at estimated cost of Rs 75,000 crore to cover 3,177 km.

Some specific works done for rural areas by your ministry?

Lots of works for rural areas have been done. We continue to develop highways and expressways for the socio-economic development for tribal and 500 aspirational blocks. Nearly, 3.75 lakh km of new roads have been built in villages in the last 10 years. These also include vital words in the Northeast and J&K.

In Northeast, we are working on more than 800 projects worth Rs 3 lakh crore out of which Rs 42,000 crore worth of projects have been completed. In J&K, works worth more than Rs 1 lakh core have been taken up. One of Asia’s longest tunnels, Zojila Tunnel, is located in J&K. National highways in J&K have 144 tunnels with a length of 357 km.

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