BJP’s 5 Yrs in Power & Relationship With Opponents: Here’s Full Transcript of Nitin Gadkari’s Interview
The Union minister says he believes that the BJP will come to power with a majority and that a “Modi wave” still persists in the country.
New Delhi: He is a high-performing minister of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet, a doer, an implementer. Someone whose work has received bipartisan praise. Unlike a regular politician, he speaks his heart out. Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Union minister Nitin Gadkari, currently a member of the BJP Parliamentary board, speaks to Marya Shakil.
What is the biggest agenda of this election?
I can say with faith that what our government has done in five years wasn’t done in 50 years. Based on that, I believe our government, our party will be re-elected and Modi will be the prime minister.
The BJP is talking about your work, putting up posters and advertisements. So, has this Nitin Gadkari model of development been prominent among the achievements of the government?
I don’t think so. Everyone in the government has worked. And the credit of the work done goes to the head of the government. So, it’s not just me who has worked. A team has worked under the leadership of the prime minister.
I have the advantage since I have worked on roads, shipping, and irrigation: they are visible. For others, like health, what can they show? What can be seen in foreign policy?
Overall, the team has worked well. And people have shown their trust and support based on that experience. And under Modi’s leadership, globally, the respect for our government has risen.
Based on that, I can firmly say we will get support from people.
You have good relations with your political opponents. That has soured over five years. Do you consider it a failure of your government — the worsening of the atmosphere, the kind of words used?
Those who have known me for the past 30-32 years know that I have a nature of my own without any political calculation. Friendship is friendship, I keep it. And as taught to us as ministers, everybody’s work should be legitimately done.
I am the minister of the Indian government, not of the BJP. So, I have tried to work on whichever MP has approached me, to the best of my ability. I have also addressed the work of those who can never support me ideologically. Everyone’s development work should be done — this is our belief. And Modi has also said “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas”, so why should we politicise development? We have tried to support everyone.
My relations have been cordial with members from other parties, and I have their affection and trust. My attitude has been the same with workers from my party, and with whoever comes to my residence. There is no discrimination.
What about the angst in the atmosphere? Why is there so much angst in politics? There is no interaction and coordination between the treasury benches and the Opposition.
To empower our democracy, we should understand there may be disagreements. And it is natural to have ideological differences, but not personal differences. We are ideologically opposed to each other, we are not enemies. India is the largest democracy in the world. And this is the largest festival of democracy, in which every person of the world is looking at us.
We must debate ideas, performance and work, discuss economic, foreign and other policies. And the way democracies in the United States and the United Kingdom have emerged forward, the way they talk on issues. In the same way, our democracy should move forward, by people rising above caste, creed, sex, religion and language, and instead decide based on debates on issues and the party manifesto.
The “Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign has started. You talk about policies and your schemes, then why such a campaign?
“Chowkidar” (guard) means saviour. Someone says I am the guard of democracy, of national security. Buildings have guards looking after them. The guards prohibit trespassers. So, this has been put forward to the people as a “bhaav”, or a figure of speech.
But your political opponents say that since you don’t have answers to issues such as the job crisis and rural distress, you have made everyone a security guard.
I have awarded road projects worth Rs 11 lakh crore in my own department. Sagarmala and Bharatmala were two flagship programmes. The latter is worth Rs 7.5 lakh crore and will see the construction of 24,000 km of roads. It has been approved now. Close to 7,000-8,000 km work has been started. We are constructing express highways, tunnels and roads. We are consuming 40% cement of the country, the most amount of iron. The turnover of the machinery industry of construction has increased in a year. Do all these not create employment? The road project worth Rs 11 lakh crore, after that shipping projects worth Rs 5 lakh crore in Sagarmala have also been awarded.
Why have you not released the data?
I am giving it. Eleven lakh and five lakh is 16 lakh. And one lakh crore for the 285 projects in Namami Gange and for the Prime Minister Irrigation scheme. If you consider the total, work worth Rs 17 lakh crore has been approved by me alone. A minimum of 50 lakh people have been employed in my own department.
There is surely one thing. Whoever rules the economy, if some sectors fare good, others do worse. There are some problems in agriculture and real estate. And now we have made policies for agriculture. We are giving Rs 6,000 to farmers and have introduced the crop insurance scheme, improving the percentage of irrigation. We have increased the MSP (minimum support price) of agricultural commodities by two-and-a-half times.
Now, we are bringing out a policy for biofuel to make our biofuel economy of Rs 2 lakh crore. So that from airplanes to buses and trucks run on biofuel. Biofuel of different kinds – ethanol and methanol — are being introduced.
We are increasing our agricultural export too, changing crop patterns. Sugar surplus, rice surplus, wheat surplus, pulses surplus, now the government can’t decide the price as per global economy. Sugar costs Rs 20 per kg in Brazil, but we have paid the farmers Rs 34 per kg.
But do you believe that rural distress is a reality?
This has been the condition for 70 years. And we have tried to provide relief on a majority scale. I admit that more needs to be done.
You come up with new ideas, you have spoken about electric vehicles. When will Tesla come to India?
There is no hope of Tesla coming to India for a lack of interest. But today, in Pune (Maharashtra), 900 electric buses are being introduced. They are being launched at many places. In my own constituency, Nagpur, 250 electric taxis ply. Electric bikes are coming. In a year’s time, you will see electric buses, electric cars, electric taxis, electric bikes, and electric auto-rickshaws everywhere in this country.
I will tell you a simple thing, which has been my biggest achievement. When I used to sit in a cycle-rickshaw during my childhood, whenever there were climbs, I used to get down. It was dreadful and painful to see the rickshaw-puller take the rickshaw ahead. I am happy today that I made a law and introduced mechanised e-rickshaws. One crore people who used to ferry persons, to what Ram Manohar Lohia used to say that I would never in my life sit in these rickshaws. Today, when I go to villages and look for these rickshaws, I don’t find them. Diverting one crore people to mechanised e-rickshaws, it has been a great humanitarian work done by our government. We fought till the Supreme Court passed a law. Today, in several places in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and the Northeast, e-rickshaws are available for commutation.
How effective will the “Main Bhi Chowkidaar” campaign be in 2019?
Different kinds of campaigns happen during elections. There are emotions behind this one and the emotion would definitely succeed.
You think it is emotional due to the Pulwama incident.
There is no reason to associate this with the Pulwama incident. After the prime minister called himself a “chowkidar”, the “Chowkidar Chor Hai” (the security guard is the thief) was being said. A prime minister does not belong to the BJP, he is the prime minister of the country. The description of a prime minister must be in ethical language. So, I feel the emotion around the campaign, that “I am its saviour”.
So nationalism is still an agenda for you?
Nationalism is not an agenda for us, it is our soul. When I was leading my party, there used to be a board outside our office. Even today, it is written there “Rashtravaad yeh humariaatma hai” (nationalism is our soul). For us, it’s country first, then party, then me. So, nationalism is our soul. Good governance and development are our mission.
And, social and economic thinking till the end: the end person in society who is marginalised and suffering, the Dalits who lack shelter, clothing and food. We consider them God and look after them. And our work will conclude when those people will have food, clothing and shelter. This was Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay’s thought and discipline.
Your political opponents are questioning the airstrikes. Rahul Gandhi’s trusted advisor and guide, Sam Pitroda, said on Friday, “Eight people (with reference to 26/11) came and did something. You don’t jump on an entire nation. It’s naïve to assume that just because some people came here and attacked, every citizen of that nation is to be blamed. I don’t believe it that way.” The prime minister has criticised this. How do you look at this statement?
First, it is not fair to debate the intention of the sacrifices made by our armed forces. I wholeheartedly feel these issues must not be politicised. If we speak in the same language as Pakistan’s television and radio, this will, in a way, insult our brave forces. Neither do I want to respond to such discussions nor do I have anything to say.
I would expect and request that no one has the right to insult the forces, such issues should not be politicised. Neither do we want the credit for it nor do we want to debate about it. I urge the media that a debate on such sensitive issues is not in the national interest. It’s better to avoid it.
You are also politicising it, your party does it.
That’s why I prefer to keep quiet. I have expressed what I feel.
Posters are being put up. So is that an election issue?
No, we are not doing it. No, this is not. We don’t want to make it an election issue. Sometimes, they are derived from such questions and answers. So, it’s better to maintain silence on it. I have expressed my feelings. I don’t have anything to say beyond this.
You are contesting the election from Nagpur, which is the RSS’s headquarter. How significant is this election for you?
Every election is significant for the party. Last time, I won by three lakh votes. This time, I am going to win by four lakh to 4.5 lakh votes. I have tried to do the maximum work in Nagpur in the last five years. And I have worked, rising over caste, creed, religion and language. I have got support from all people. This year, I believe I am going to increase my margin by another one lakh to 1.5 lakh votes and win.
There’s nothing very surprising in the list. You are mostly repeating MPs and ministers in Uttar Pradesh. Since you are the member of the Central Election Committee, does this party believe there is no anti-incumbency? Or if there is any anti-incumbency, why is that only against six sitting MPs among the 28 of UP?
The president and our party examine all the seats. The party decides after examining the choice of party workers, people, and surveys. And whoever is considered to be getting public support is nominated. It’s a very natural process. It is evaluated in a just way. No one gets a ticket based on someone’s plea or recommendation. Based on merit, someone gets it, others don’t.
Smriti Irani is contesting from Amethi. What is the party’s opinion about Rae Bareilly?
This has not been discussed in the party’s parliamentary board. When it will be discussed, it will be shared.
The prime minister has been called by Kashi, Amit Shah is fighting from Gandhinagar. What will be the path since he is still the party president and you have been one too?
The parliamentary board decided he should contest from there, which is good. He will win from a good margin since his Vidhan Sabha constituency comes under this only. When Advaniji used to fight elections, Amit Shah used to stand by him. I believe he will win by a good margin.
If Amit Shah wins the election, will he be a part of the Modi Cabinet Part 2?
The PM will decide this.
Advaniji did not get a ticket.
Advaniji has been an inspiration to all of us. He was with us in the past, he will be with us in the future. It is the natural course. Changes come with age. I think the party president has discussed this with Advaniji, then he took any decision.
He was not given an option or he said this himself?
I have no knowledge about this, but I believe the party president might have spoken to him.
Is there a cap of 75 years?
This is a discussion done within the party and I don’t feel right discussing this with the media.
Should we consider this as an end of the road for him in the BJP?
I believe that he was with us and he will be with us. He is our inspiration, he established our party and we all have that respect for him.
The Opposition says that Advani led the BJP from zero to great heights. I am quoting what they said: “Modiji doesn’t respect elders, how will he respect the faith of the nation?”
What is the relation between the BJP’s issues and the Congress party? Is the Congress giving tickets to all of its elder members? Creating such confusion among people is their habit, they should first look into their party. They should resolve their issues first. Who will get tickets from our party is the decision of the party president and the parliamentary board.
Turncoats have been given space in West Bengal and Odisha, what do you want to say about that? Do you believe other party members are stronger than you in these two states?
This is not true. But it is correct that the strength we should be having in both the states, we don’t have that now. If somebody wants to join us and support us, we should have them on our side, nothing is wrong in that. The party has become the largest party by accepting others only.
The PM and all of you have spoken against the dynasty. [Karnataka BJP chief] BS Yedyurappa’s son, BY Raghavendra, has got the ticket from Shivamogga. Why?
Being someone’s son or daughter is not a crime, but the parents trying to persuade for a ticket is wrong. When the party members and people are supporting the candidate, it is not wrong to give them the ticket.
There was also speculation that the three chief ministers who lost in the Assembly elections last year — Shivraj Singh, Vasundhara Raje and Raman Singh — they will get a chance at the Centre. Is it possible that we will have their names in the upcoming lists?
These kinds of decisions are taken by the party president and the parliamentary board.
Sushma Swaraj and Uma Bharti do not want to contest the elections.
I also had a word with Sushma. She said her health is deteriorating, so she won’t be able to contest this time. The president and I received a letter from Uma Bharti, she said she will hold campaigns she doesn’t want to contest.
Does she want to return to her home state of Madhya Pradesh from UP?
I don’t think so. Whatever work will be given to her by the party, she will do it.
Since we are talking about every type of speculation, this time you won’t be getting numbers from the Hindi belt, i.e. from UP, Bihar, MP, Rajasthan. From where do you think you will get the numbers?
We will get good numbers in West Bengal, in the Northeast. Looking at the current situation, I feel that we will not only maintain the number of seats in UP and Bihar but will get two to three seats more and will cross 300.
In Odisha, you won a single seat last time during the Modi wave.
We will get seven to eight seats this time. There is anti-incumbency against the current government in the state.
If we talk about Bihar, you are fighting from 17 seats, five seats fewer than the 22 last time.
Such things happen in alliance politics – to keep everybody together, you need to sacrifice. We are not fighting on the seats we know we will win. For the party’s benefit, this step was necessary. During that time, the Janata Dal (United) was not with us.
So should we consider this a compulsive decision because of the alliance or has the BJP become accommodating?
Politics is a game of compulsions, contradictions and limitations. And there are multiple permutations and combinations in this game — to get the majority, one needs to have a big heart and accommodate more and more people who support the party ideology. That helps create good leadership and success story.
So you had a big heart for the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, the same heart for the JD(U) in Bihar.
We are working with the JD(U), we will have to keep that big heart.
For the rainbow coalition in Tamil Nadu, there is massive anti-incumbency against the AIADMK, which is itself a divided house.
I don’t think so. The AIADMK and other parties are supporting the BJP, we will have a winning combination and will win good numbers there.
What is giving you this confidence in Tamil Nadu?
I visited Tamil Nadu and held discussions with people. I believe we will have a spectacular winning combination and that is what the people want.
Your good friend Rajinikanth hasn’t formally joined politics.
It is up to him to decide. He is not very interested in contesting parliamentary elections, but I am expecting he may support the BJP.
Will he support the BJP this time? Will there be a formal announcement from him?
I don’t know. But in the interest of the country and Tamil Nadu, we are expecting support from him.
You spoke about permutations and combinations. If there is a permutation and combination and the BJP is stuck at 220, will you be in the race for PM?
I have cleared this earlier also. Neither I am in a race nor do we have a club of 220, I have full faith that under Modi’s leadership we will get a full majority and the next PM will be Narendra Modi.
Since you have good relations with other parties — [Biju Janata Dal’s] Naveen Patnaik, the YSR Congress, everybody — what will you do if they say they will only support the BJP if Nitin Gadkari is its face?
I don’t think there is any such possibility. We will have a full majority and this question is baseless.
If we talk about personal equations, is this with Nitin Gadkari, the BJP minister, or with Nitin Gadkari as an individual?
Those who have known me for 35-40 years, my attitude is still the same as it was before and it will be the same in the future also. Neither did I make friends for a political equation nor do I have any such connection. When I was in Maharashtra, it was the same as it is now.
There were two statements by you. First, you said at an event at the Pune District Urban Cooperative Bank Association Limited: “The leadership should have the tendency to own up to the defeats and failures in elections.”
That speech was in Marathi: I said there is sometimes loss and profit in banks. There is a cooperative unit in Maharashtra, so I said that everybody should balance their profit and loss, one should not fight. We also win and lose elections, but we always stay together and own it.
My speech was not related to anything else. I gave it at 11 am. By the evening, a website called “Sarkarnama” published that I said Amit Shah should take responsibility for our defeat in the Vidhan Sabha elections. I neither mentioned Amit Shah nor the Vidhan Sabha elections.
Second, I spoke about party workers – first they need to eradicate unemployment and hunger from their homes, then they should work for the party. If you cannot handle your families, how will you manage the nation?
You were addressing Intelligence Bureau officials, at the 31st IB Centenary Endowment Lecture in New Delhi, when you said that who else but a party president will be responsible if the MLAs and MPs do not perform well.
I did not say that. I said that in the party, we are responsible for the workers and MPs. And we must teach them to work well and motivate them. This is our work as party leadership. And that is why, when I was the party president, I had readied a syllabus. A syllabus for an MLA, an MP and a minister, and had ensured they were trained well. To train them is the party’s responsibility. This was also my responsibility as party president. And I had mentioned that.
Unfortunately, I must tell you one thing. You people play around with statements. When people had asked me about MLAs, I had answered. I do not have a problem with that. But words are put in my mouth… and in the same show I had said that [Pandit Jawaharlal] Nehru had said that the number of people in India and the number of problems in the country are the same. So, we must decide to not remain a problem anymore. But when it was aired, it was mentioned that I appreciated Jawaharlal Nehru.
If you want to shoot someone, if you have the conviction, shoot them yourselves. Don’t shoot them by keeping the gun on my shoulder. I have said things clearly and my statements are still there on YouTube. The things that have been said about me shows that the media is not credible these days.
You even clarified after the first statement on Twitter.
I spoke at 11am and nothing came in the media till 5 pm. Journalists were present at the conference, but nobody said anything. One started it and the rest followed. After 6 pm, everybody ran it.
So who did this mischief?
I told you the name.
What was their agenda?
I don’t know and I even expressed my anger to them. Whatever I have said, I owe that. I am giving you an interview and if you speculate about something else, I will stand by my words. Whatever I am saying on record, if you can really speculate about something, you can, but what kind of journalism is going on?
It was said that Nitin Gadkari is sending a message since he speaks his heart out.
I can speak directly, I don’t need you to be the mediator. This is not my behaviour. I support the ideology of the party and I stand by them. I understand the party discipline and I won’t do anything that disturbs it.
MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh were your bastions. In two states, you were ruling for 15 years, you lost. Don’t you think the kind of situation that has been created will reflect on the upcoming elections?
Things have changed after the Budget was introduced and I believe that in all the three states we will get good numbers and will maintain the victory number.
If we talk about Maharashtra, your home state, there is a rise in suicide numbers of farmers in Vidarbha. It reflects that your schemes have failed.
This is not an issue for the past five years, this has been going on for 60-70 years and for the first time we took steps to solve the issue. In one particular scheme, we have accepted 108 irrigation projects wherein we are investing Rs 40,000 crore. In the PM irrigation scheme, Maharashtra’s irrigation will increase by up to 48%. If irrigation will increase, it is natural that farmer suicides will decrease. The Maharashtra government has tried and we are also trying. This is a difficult job, it will take time but I believe suicides will stop. This is our mission.
You spoke about discipline, but your ally in Maharashtra is not dealing with discipline. They speak like your opponents.
I spoke about discipline within the party, I never spoke about alliance discipline. There is discipline in the party and I will abide by that. It is true they have said a lot but we have that we will forget such statements. We have started a programme in Nagpur — [Shiv Sena chief] Uddhav [Thackeray], [Maharashtra chief minister] Devendra [Fadnavis] and all of us were present there and we have decided that we will work hard and the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will be successful as before.
It is being said that the Maratha reservation is leading to polarisation between the OBCs and the Marathas. Do you think this will backfire?
It is nothing like that. Maharashtra voters are sensitive, responsible and aware. They vote, keeping issues in mind, and now this is not an issue or conflict. Yes, there is one thing. Politics for development is the BJP’s agenda… casteism, religion, these are issues of the opposition.
We believe that a person becomes great by his/her qualities and not by his/her caste or religion. The poor don’t understand this caste and religion, therefore economic issues are really important. We need to eradicate fear, terror, hunger and corruption and we need to build a happy, serene and prosperous country. So, we are taking along the feeling of “Sabka saath, sabkavikas” and going ahead with it, this is our mission.
But we are not hearing “Sabka saath, sabka vikaas” these elections.
It is still there, it is our slogan. It is a problem with us that people listen to the good things about us but they forget. And they keep on repeating the things they should have forgotten.
So “Main Bhi Chowkidar” is not as important as “Sabka saath, sabka vikaas”?
Everything said by us is important. If I say it is not important, you will get tomorrow’s breaking [news]. I will not do that.
You were present while finalising the government in Goa. Vishwajit Rane’s name did the maximum rounds. But Pramod Sawant’s name was declared. What actually worked in his favour?
The decision was taken after 12 MLAs, party leadership and workers were consulted. Amit Shah was also consulted.
[Former Goa CM] Manohar Parrikar’s demise is a big loss to the party.
It is. When I used to work for the Maharashtra BJP 35-40 years ago, I was also given Goa’s responsibility by Pramodji [Pramod Mahajan]. Then Manohar Parrikar, Shripad Naik, Digambar Kamat (now Congress) and Sanjeev Desai were new to the party, and I used to sit with them. I had close familial relations with Manohar. He was very honest and hardworking. He was an IIT graduate.
He gave his life for the nation as a worker of the BJP. He was untainted and had a clean heart. He was also a friend. His demise has caused irreparable damage to me, to Goa, to the country and to the party. His demise hassled us and deeply saddened us. That is why after he went away, we unanimously chose a chief minister and a new Cabinet.
He loved Goa a lot. I must have granted Rs 15,000 crore to the state for infrastructure development. Whenever he used to come to me, I used to do everything he requested. The new chief minister and the party leadership must fulfil his dreams of a better Goa. Today when I met the chief minister, I said this would be the best tribute to Manohar. His soul will find peace in heaven when the Goa of his dreams is built.
You spoke about the success of a lot of your schemes. Uma Bharti had said that as per the Namami Gange project, Ganga will be clean by 2016. The timeline was then shifted to 2018. You said that by 2020, 70%-80% of the Ganga will be clean. Do you think Namami Gange was not as successful as hoped?
There are 285 projects, including the Ganga, her tributaries and the ghats. Of this more than 30% of the projects have been completed. We worked on 13 projects in Delhi, which were worth Rs 450 crore. We completed the Sonipat and Panipat project. Work over the Yamuna has begun in Himachal Pradesh. Three projects have started in Mathura. A project worth Rs 850 crore was inaugurated in Agra. We have seven projects in Prayagraj, nine in Varanasi, and 13 in Patna. Everywhere work has begun.
I can say that by the end of March next year, Ganga will be completely clean. We made a waterway from Prayagraj to Varanasi and thus, Priyanka Gandhi could travel on that boat. She drank the Gangajal and it was a certificate that the Ganga is, indeed, clean. All the people who came to Kumbh blessed us, Ganga is very clean although we have done only 30% of our work so far. It is my commitment to you that by the end of March next year, the Ganga will be clean.
Priyanka Gandhi had a boat show, not a road show.
It happened because of us. If we hadn’t maintained it, how would she have gone? So she, in a way, accepted that. But she must have said that she is thankful for the Ganga waterway and that the water is clean, hence she is drinking it. [Congress leader P] Chidambaram himself wrote that in roadways and for cleaning Ganga, we have done a good job.
Priyanka Gandhi has formally ventured into politics. She is the general secretary in-charge of East UP. How big is it a concern for the BJP?
There is no concern. Everyone can try as they might in politics. If she works, she is welcome. We are not worried at all.
But eastern UP is the bastion of the PM and the UP chief minister.
I don’t think her presence will make any difference for us. We will repeat our previous victory. I believe that.
And what about the Samajwadi Party-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance?
Such things keep taking shape and then go ugly. We are standing on our concrete work. The public will support Modiji and the BJP and we will win.
But it is a strong arithmetic.
In the elections of 1971, the entire opposition had united against Indira Gandhi. But it proved that there is no 2+2=4 in politics. Those who were against each other have formed an alliance of opportunism. It is not built on any principle and, hence, I have faith that we will again.
But where will the numbers come from?
We will get the numbers 100%. We will get more seats than the 300-mark.
If we do direct calculations, as per the combined vote share of SP and BSP in 2014, you are losing 50% of your seats.
You might have done the arithmetic calculations but you have not done the political calculations.
So what is the political calculation?
I am telling you that the developmental work we have done in UP over the past five years, people will definitely vote for us.
The view is that maybe Yogi Adityanath’s anti-incumbency will weigh down the numbers.
Nothing like that will happen.
The angst amongst the people against Yogi Adityanath?
It is a test of the work we have done under PM Modi. And surely UP’s public wants to accept Modiji as their PM.
Was the “Congress-mukt Bharat” slogan correct?
It does not mean we will end the Congress in India. The Congress is an ideology. And to stop that ideology and build an India on our ideology is our motto.
What could you have done differently as a minister?
I never look back. I did whatever my job was. And I have faith that we did work worth Rs 17,000 crore with transparency, time-bound result and quality consciousness. And I am proud that even after giving away contracts worth Rs 17,000 crore, not a single contractor had to come to my office. There was no corruption. It will be best if the media and people decide how my work has been.
That was about your ministry, what about your government?
Our government under Modi has done in five years what was not done in 50 years. India’s status has risen in the world. As a part of reformative economic policies, we brought GST, brought welfare schemes for the poor and farmers. The results are now visible. Thirty-four crore people have bank accounts. Now roads worth Rs 34 crore are being built every day. We made express highways, tunnels and bridges. We are now making the Mumbai-Delhi express highway, we will finish the work for the Delhi-Meerut Expressway tomorrow. The people are watching.
But not hiding the NSSO report, not releasing it?
There are always various kinds of reports. We have also created employment opportunities. The growth rate will also go up to 7.5% by the next year. But it is also true that some sectors have done well while others have not. We are trying to boost agriculture and real estate.
The absence of data raises questions about the government’s intentions… as if you have something to hide.
Our intention is how to increase economic growth rate, agricultural growth rate, manufacturing growth rate and service sector growth rate and create more employment. This is our economic policy’s priority. And that is why people must not ask for jobs, but create jobs. That is why we have given precedence to science, technology, start-ups and stand-ups. People are benefitting, which will only go up in the future.
If you are so sure of the opportunities you have created, why did you not release the data?
As far as I know, the data has been released in this regard. The ministry can give a clearer picture. But we have not hidden anything.
Since you have been a BJP president, my question is: Has the BJP become a person-centric party? It is no longer a people-centric party, as per your opponents.
Our party is ideology-centric. Nationalism is our soul. Good governance and development is our mission. Nation first, after that the party, and then me. This is a workers’ party, not a family’s. Here, leaders are not born from “naamdaars” (dynasts). This a party that works for an ideology and is a party of nationalists. And we are still following that. So, this accusation is baseless.
In the future, we will free the nation from fear, terror and corruption and will make it a happy, prosperous country. We will become an economic superpower as per the dreams of Modiji’s New India. Every countryman’s dreams and ambitions will be achieved.
Since you often do calculations, what will unfold for your party on May 23?
I have faith that people will reinstate their trust in us and we will change India’s future in the next five years.
How many seats do you expect?
More than 300.
So you are saying that the Modi wave is still there?
No need for new allies? Are there any potential allies?
We have done many successful alliances.
It is being said that Naveen Patnaik, Jagan Mohan Reddy and K Chandrasekhar Rao are your potential allies.
What people do and say is up to them. But we have to include everyone with us with a large heart and strengthen the NDA. To strengthen the BJP and work for the country is our sole mission. We will try to get them on board and together take the country forward.
Is the BJP going to get more than 300 seats or the NDA?
I am talking about the BJP. When we include the alliances, it will be much more.
But the opposition is united.
They can also try their luck. Results will follow post-polls.