Lok Sabha polls 2019 | Nationalism is not an agenda for us, it’s our soul, says Union Minister Nitin Gadkari
“Rural distress has been a condition for 70 years. And, we have tried to provide relief on majority scale. Although I admit that more needs to be done,” Gadkari told a TV news channel
In an exclusive interview with CNN News18 Political Editor Marya Shakil, Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari talks about the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the ‘Main Bhi Chowkidaar’ campaign, rural distress, nationalism and more.
Q. What is the biggest agenda of this election?
Q. 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.
A. I don’t think so. Everyone is the government has worked. And the credit of the work done goes to the head of the government. So, it’s not just I who have 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, respect for our government has risen. Based on that, I can firmly say that we will get support from the people.
Q. You have good relations with your political opponents. But it has soured in 5 years. Do you consider it a failure of your government – the worsening of the atmosphere, the kind of words used?
A. Those who know me for 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 BJP. So, I have tried to work on whichever Member of Parliament 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 politicize development? So, we have tried to support everyone. My relation has been cordial with members from other parties, and I have got their affection and trust. My attitude has been the same with the party workers of my party, and also with whoever comes to my residence. There is no discrimination.
Q. But, what about the angst in the atmosphere. Why is there so much of angst in politics? There is no interaction and coordination between the Treasury benches and the Opposition.
A. I think to empower our democracy, we should understand that there may be disagreements. And it is natural to have ideological differences, but not personal differences. We are ideologically opposed to each other, not enemies. I believe India is the largest democracy in the world. And this is the largest festival of democracy, in which every person in the world is looking at us. We must debate on ideas, performance and work; discuss on Economic policy, foreign policy, and other policies. And the way, the democracies of America and UK have emerged forward, as they talk on issues. In the same way, our democracy should move forward, by people rising above caste, creed, sex, religion, language and instead deciding based on debates on issues, party’s manifesto.
Q. Mai Bhi Chowkidar campaign has started. You talk about policies, your schemes, then why ‘Mai Bhi Chowkidar’?
A. Chowkidar (guard) means savior. Someone says I am the guard of democracy, of national security. Buildings have guards, who look after the buildings. He ensures to prohibit wrong trespassers. So, this has been put forward to people as a figure of speech.
Q. But, your political opponents say that since you don’t have answers to job crisis, rural distress, you have made everyone a security guard.
A. In my own department, I have awarded road projects worth Rs 11 lakh crore. Sagarmala, Bharatmala were my two flagship programmes, in which the latter was worth Rs 7.5 lakh crore to begin the construction of 24,000 km of roads. It was approved now. Some 7,000-8,000 km work has been started. I am telling you we are making Express Highways, tunnels, road. 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? Road project worth Rs 11 lakh crore, after that shipping projects worth Rs 5 lakh crore in Sagarmala have also been awarded.
Q. Why have you not released the data?
A. I am giving it. Eleven and five is sixteen 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. Minimum 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 6000 to farmers; introduced Crop Insurance Scheme, improving the percentage of irrigation. We have increased the MSP of agricultural commodities by two-and-a-half times. Now, we are bringing policy for biofuel to make our biofuel economy of Rs 2 lakh crore. So that from aeroplanes to buses and trucks run on biofuel. Biofuel of different kinds of ethanol, methanol are being introduced. We are increasing our agricultural export too; changing crop patterns. Sugar surplus, rice surplus, wheat surplus, pulses surplus now government can’t decide the price in the global economy. Sugar costs Rs 20 per kg in Brazil, but we have paid the farmers on Rs 34 per kg.
Q. But, do you believe that rural distress is a reality?
A. This has been the condition for 70 years. And we have tried to provide relief on majority scale. I admit that more needs to be done.
Q. Since you come up with new ideas, you have talked about electric vehicles. When will Tesla come in India?
A. There is no hope of Tesla coming to India for 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 around you in this country. I will tell you a simple thing, which has been my biggest achievement. When I used to sit in 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 mechanized e-rickshaws. One crore people who used to carry 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 towards mechanized e-rickshaws, it has been a great humanitarian work done by our government. We fought till the Supreme Court passed the law. And today at several places including Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, northeast, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar e-rickshaws are available for commutation.
Q. How effective would be the ‘Mai Bhi Chowkidaar’ campaign in 2019?
A. Different kinds of campaigns happen during elections. There are emotions behind this one and definitely, the emotion would succeed.
Q. You think it’s emotional due to the Pulwama incident.
A. There is no reason to associate this with Pulwama incident. After the Prime Minister called himself a ‘Chowkidaar’, ‘Chowkidaar Chor Hai’ (guard is a thief) was being said. A Prime Minister is not of BJP, but of the country. A description of a Prime Minister must be in ethical language. So I feel, the emotion around it that ‘I am its savior’.
Q. So, nationalism is still an agenda for you all?
A. 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 its written there ‘Rashtravaad Ye Hamara Aatma Hai’ (nationalism is our soul). For us, it’s country first, then party, than me. So, nationalism is our soul. Good governance and development are our mission. And, social and economic thinking till the end – the society’s end–a person who is marginalized, suffering; a Dalit who lacks shelter, clothing and food. We consider them God and look after them. And our work would conclude the day, the person will have food, clothing and shelter. This was Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay’s thought and discipline.
Q. Your political opponents are questioning the airstrikes. Rahul Gandhi’s trusted advisor and guide Sam Pitroda has said today, “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 criticized this. How do you look at this statement?
A. Firstly, it is not fair to debate on the intention of the sacrifices made by our armed forces. I whole-heartedly feel these issues must not be politicized. If we speak in the same language of Pakistan’s TV and radio, this would 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 politicized. Neither do we want the credit for it, nor do we want to debate about it. I urge to media that debate on such sensitive issues is not in national interest. It’s better to avoid it.
Q. You are also politicizing it, your party does it.
A. That’s why I prefer to keep quiet. I have expressed what I feel.
Q. Posters are being put up. So is that an election issue?
A. No, we are not doing it. No, this is not. We don’t 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.
Q. You are contesting election from Nagpur. Nagpur is RSS’s headquarter. How significant is this election for you?
A. Every election is significant for the party. Last time, I won the election by three lakh votes. This time, I am going to win by 4-4.5 lakh votes. I have tried to do maximum work in Nagpur in the last 5 years. And have worked rising over caste, creed, religion, language. I have got support from all peoples. This year, I believe I am going to increase my margin by another 1-1.5 lakh votes and win the election.
Q. There’s nothing very surprising in the list. You are mostly repeating MPs and ministers in UP. So since you are a member of Central Election Committee, does this party believe that 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?
A. The president and our party examine all the seats. The party decides after examining the choices of party workers, people, and surveys. And whoever is considered to be getting public support gets nominated. It’s a very natural process. It is evaluated in the just way. No one gets the ticket on someone’s plea or recommendation. Based on merit, someone gets it, others don’t.
Q. Smriti Irani is contesting from Amethi. What is the party’s thought in Rae Bareli?
A. This has not been discussed in the party’s parliamentary board. When it will be discussed, it will be shared.
Q. Prime Minister has been called by Kashi, Amit Shah is fighting from Gandhi Nagar. What will be the path since he is still the Party President and you have been a Party President too?
A. The parliamentary board decided that he should contest from Amethi which is good. He will win from a good margin since his Vidhan Sabha constituency comes under this only. When Advani ji used to fight elections Amit Shah used to stand by him. I believe he will win from a good margin
Q. So in Modi cabinet part 2 if Amit Shah wins the election will he be a part of it?
A. PM will decide on this.
Q. Advani ji did not get a ticket
A. Advani ji 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 a natural course. Changes come with age. I think party president has discussed this with Advani then he took any decision.
Q. He was not given an option or he said this himself?
A. I have no knowledge about this but I believe party president might have talked to him.
Q. Is there a cap of 75 years?
A. This is a discussion done within the party and I don’t feel write discussing this with the media.
Q. Should we consider this as an end of the road for BJP?
A. 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.
Q. Opposition says that Advani led BJP from zero to a great height. I am quoting what they said: Modi ji doesn’t respect the elders how will he respect the faith of the nation?
A. What is the relation between BJP’s issues and the Congress party? Is Congress giving tickets to all of its elder members? Creating such confusions among the people is their habit, they should first look into their own party. They should resolve their issues first. Who will get ticket from our party is the decision of the party president and the parliamentary board.
Q. Turncoats have been given space, in Bengal and Odisha what do you want to say about that. Do you believe that the other party members are stronger than you in these 2 states?
A. No this is not true, Yes this is correct that the strength we should have in both the states we don’t have that now. If somebody wants to join us and support us then we should have them on our side, Nothing is wrong in that. Party has become the largest party by accepting others only.
Q. PM and all of you have spoken against the dynasty. from Shimoga BS Yeddyurappa’s son BY Raghavendra has got the ticket, why?
A. Being a son or daughter of somebody is not a crime, but the parents trying to persuade for ticket is wrong. When the party memebers and people are supporting the candidate it is not wrong to give them the ticket.
Q. There were also speculations that the 3 CMs who have lost Shivraj Singh, Vasundhara Raje, Raman Singh they will get a chance in the centre. Is it possible that in the upcoming list we will have their names?
A. These kinds of decisions are taken by the party president, parliamentary board.
Q. Sushma, Uma do not want to contest the elections?
A. I also had a word with Sushma. She said her health is deteriorating so she won’t be able to contest this time. I and the president received a letter from Uma Bharti, she said she will hold campaigns but she doesn’t want to contest.
Q. Does she want to return to her home state Madhya Pradesh from UP?
A. I don’t think so. Whatever work will be given to her by the party she will do it.
Q. Since we are talking about every type of speculation this time you won’t be getting numbers from the Hindi belt, that is, from UP, Bihar, MP, Rajasthan. What do you think from where will you get the numbers?
A. We will get good numbers in Bengal, in Northeast. Looking into the current situation I feel that in UP and Bihar we will not only maintain the number of seats but we will get 2-3 seats more and we will get a number above 300.
Q. In Odisha you got 1 seat last time during the Modi wave.
A. This time we will get 7-8 seats. there is an anti-incumbency against the present govt in Odisha.
Q. If we talk about Bihar, you are fighting from 17 seats and you won last time 22, 5 seats are already less.
A. Such things happen in alliance politics.to keep everybody together you need to sacrifice. We are not fighting on those seats which we know we will win. For the party’s benefit, this step was necessary. during that time JD(U) was not with us.
Q. So should we consider this as a compulsive decision because of alliance or BJP has become accommodative.
A. 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 to create good leadership and success story.
Q. So you had that big heart for Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, the same heart for JD(U) in Bihar.
A. we are working with JDU we will have to keep that big heart.
Q. But in Tamil Nadu for the rainbow coalition, there is massive anti-incumbency against AIADMK and AIADMK is a divided house as well.
A. I don’t think so. AIADMK and other parties supporting BJP, we will have a winning combination and we will win good numbers there I believe.
Q. What is giving you confidence in Tamil Nadu?
A. I visited Tamil Nadu and I had discussions with people. We will have a spectacular winning combination and that is what people want.
Q. Your good friend Rajnikanth hasn’t joined politics formally?
A. It is up to him to decide. He is not very much interested to contest the elections of Parliament but I am expecting that he may support BJP.
Q. He will support the BJP? this time? Will there be a formal announcement by him?
A. I don’t know that but we are expecting that in the interest of the country and Tamil Nadu we are expecting support from him for BJP.
Q. Nitin ji you spoke about permutations and combinations, if there is a permutation and combination and BJP is stuck at 220, are you in the race of the PM?
A. I have cleared this earlier also. Neither I am in a race nor we have any 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.
Q. Since you have good relations with the other parties, Navin Patnaik, YSR Congress, everybody, if they say they will only support BJP if Nitin Gadkari is the face then what will you do?
A. I don’t think there is any such possibility. We will have a full majority and this question is baseless.
Q. If we talk about personal equations, is this with Nitin Gadkari BJP Neta or with Nitin Gadkari as an individual.
A. those who know me since 35-40 years my attitude is still the same as it was before and it will be the same in future also. Neither I made friends for a political equation nor I have any such connection. When I was in Maharashtra it was the same as of now.
Q. Nitin ji there were two statements by you. The first statement you said during an event in the Pune District urban co-operative bank association ltd: leadership should have the tendency to own up the defeats and failures in elections. Your exact words were the tendency to own up.
A. that speech was in Marathi: I said that 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 stay together always and own it. My speech was not related to anything else. I gave this speech at 11 am and in the evening, there is a website, Sarkaranama which published that I said Amit Shah should take responsibility for our defeat in Vidhan Sabha elections. I never mentioned Amit Shah nor did I say about Vidhan Sabha elections and considering that others speculated the news. Secondly, I said about the party workers that first, they need to eradicate unemployment, hunger for their homes then they should work for the party. If you can’t handle your family, how will you manage the nation?
Q. Sir you were addressing intelligence bureau officials, the 31st IB endowment lecture at Vigyan where you had said that who else but a party president be responsible if the MLAs and MPs do not perform well.
A. I did not say that. I said that at the party we are responsible for the workers and MPs. And we must teach them to work well and motivate them for that. This is our work as the party leadership. And that is why when I was the party president, I had readied a syllabus. Syllabus for an MLA, an MP and a minister, and had ensured that they were trained well. To train them is the responsibility of the party. This was also my responsibility as the party president. And I had mentioned that. And unfortunately, I must tell you one thing. You people play around with our statements. When people had asked me about Malla, I had answered. I do not have a problem with that. But when words are put into my mouth and in the same show, I had said that Nehru had said that the number of people in India and the number of problems in the country are 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 in youtube. The things that have said about me shows that media is not credible these days.
Q. You even clarified after the first statement on Twitter.
A. I spoke at 11 am and nothing came in the media till 5 pm. journalists were also present during the conference but nobody said anything. One started it and the rest followed. After 6 pm everybody ran it.
Q. So who did this mischief?
A. I told you the name.
Q. What was their agenda?
A. 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 something else, I will stand by my words. Whatever I am saying on record if you can really speculate something then you can but what kind of journalism is going on?
Q. It was said that Nitin Gadkari is sending a message since he speaks his heart out.
A. I can speak directly, I don’t need you to be the mediator. This is not my behavior. I support the ideology of the party and I stand by them. I understand the party discipline and I won’t do anything which disturbs the discipline.
Q. MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh were your bastions. In 2 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.
A. Things have changed after the budget was introduced and I believe that in all the 3 states will get good numbers and will maintain the victory number.
Q. If we talk about Maharashtra which is your home state, there is a rise in suicide numbers of farmers in Vidharba. It reflects that your schemes have failed.
A. This is not an issue for 5 years, this has been going on since 60-70 years and the first time we took steps to solve the issue. In the badi raja yojna we have accepted 108 irrigation projects in which we are investing Rs 40,000 crore. PM irrigation scheme in which Maharashtra’s irrigation will increase upto 48%. if irrigation will increase it is natural that farmer suicides will decrease. Maharashtra govt has also 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.
Q. You spoke about discipline but you ally in Maharashtra is not dealing with discpline. they speak like opponents for you.
A. I spoke about discipline within the party, I never said about alliance discipline. There is discipline in the party and I will abide by that. That’s what I have said. It is true that they have said a lot but we have decided that we will forget such statements and we have started a program in Nagpur. Uddhav, Devendra and all of us were present there and we have decided that we will work hard and BJP-Shiv Sena alliance will be successful as before.
Q. It is being said that this Maratha reservation is leading to polarisation between the OBCs and the Marathas. Do you think this will backfire?
A. It is nothing like that. Maharashtra voters are sensitive, responsible and aware. they vote considering the issues and now this is not an issue or conflict. Yes, there is one thing. Politics for development is BJP’s agenda, casteism, religion these are issues of opposition. we believe that a person becomes great by qualities and not by cast or religion. Poor doesn’t understand this cast and religion, therefore, economic issues are really important. we need to eradicate fear, terror, hunger a corruption and we need to build and happy, serene prosper country. therefore we are taking the feeling of sabka sath, sabka vikas and we are going ahead with this, this is our mission.
Q. But we are not hearing Sabka Saath Sabka Vikaas these elections.
A. 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.
Q. So “main bhi chowkidaar” is not as important as “sabka saath sabka vikaas”?
A. Everything told by us is important. If I say it is not important you will get tomorrow’s breaking. I will not do that.
Q. You were present while finalising the government in Goa. Vishwajit Rane’s name was doing the maximum rounds. But Pramod Sawant’s name was declared. What actually worked in Pramod Sawant’s favour.
A. The decision was taken after our 12 MLAs, party leadership and workers were consulted. Amit Shah was also consulted.
Q. Manohar Parrikar’s demise is a big loss to the party.
A. It is. When I used to work for Maharashtra BJP 35-40 years back, I was also given Goa’s responsibility by Pramodji. 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 had given his life for the nation as a worker of the BJP. He was untainted and had a clean heart. He was also a friend of mine. His demise has caused irreparable to me, to Goa, to the country and to the party. His demise has hassled us and has deeply saddened us. That is why after he went away, we unanimously chose a CM and a new cabinet. And also he loved GOa a lot. I must have granted 15k crores to Goa for Infrastructural development. Whenever he used to come to me, I used to do everything he requested. To fulfill his dreams of a better Goa must be achieved by the new CM and party leadership now. Today when I met the CM I said this would be the best tribute to Manohar. His should will find peace in heaven when the Go of his dreams is built.
Q. You spoke about the success of a lot many schemes of yours. Uma Bharati had said in the Namami Gange project that Ganga will be clean by 2016. Then the timeline was shifted to 2018. You by 2020, 70-80% Ganga will be clean. Do you think Namami Gange was not as successful as hoped for?
A. See there are 285 projects including the Ganga, her tributaries and the ghats. Out of which more than 30% of projects have been completed. We worked in 13 projects in Delhi worth 450 crores. We completed the Sonipat and Panipat project. Work over Yamuna has begun in Himachal. 3 projects have started in Mathura. A project worth 850 crores was inaugurated in Agra. We have 7 projects in Prayagraj, 9 projects in Varanasi and 13 projects in Patna. Everywhere the work has begun. And I can say by next March end Ganga will be completely clean. We made a waterway from Prayagraj to Varanasi and thus Priyanka Gandhi could travel on that ship. She drank the Gangajal and it was the certificate that Ganga is indeed clean. All the people who came to Kumbh blessed us, that Ganga was very clean although we have done only 30% of our work so far. It is my commitment to you that by next March end Ganga will be clean.
Q. Priyanka Gandhi had a boat show, not a road show.
A. 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. Chidambaram himself wrote that in roadways and for cleaning Ganga we have done a good job.
Q. Priyanka Gandhi has formally ventured into politics. She is the Gen Secy in charge of East UP How big is it a concern for the BJP?
A. There is no concern. Everyone can try as they might in politics. If she works she is welcome. We are not worried at all.
Q. But sir eastern UP is PM’s and UP CM’s bastion.
A. I don’t think her presence will make any difference for us. We will repeat our previous victory. I believe that.
Q. And how about SP-BSP alliance?
A. Such things keep taking shape and then going ugly. We are standing on our concrete work. The public will support Modiji and BJP and we will win.
Q. But it is a strong arithmetic.
A. See, 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.
Q. But sure where will the numbers come from?
A. 100% we will get the numbers. When will get more seat than 300.
Q. If we do direct calculations then the combined vote share of SP and BSP in 2014, you are losing 50% of your seats.
A. You might have done the arithmetic calculations but you have not done the political calculations.
Q. So what is the political calculation then?
A. I am telling you that the developmental work we have done in UP in the past 5 years, people will definitely us.ti-
Q. The view is maybe Yogi Adityanath’s anti-incumbency will weigh down the numbers.
A. Nothing like that will happen.
Q. The angst amongst people against Yogi Adityanath.
A. It is a test of the work we have done under PM Modi. And surely U.P’s public wants to accept Modiji as their PM.
Q. Was the Congress Mukt Bharat slogan correct?
A. See it does not mean we will end Congress from India. Congress is an ideology. And to stop that ideology and build an India on our ideology is our motto.
Q. What do you think you could have done differently as a minister?
A. I never look back. I did whatever was my job. And I have faith that we did work with 17k crores with transparency, time-bound result and quality consciousness. And I am proud that even after giving away contract worth 17k crores, not a single contractor had to come to my office. There was no corruption. It will be best if the media and people decide about how my work has been.
Q. That was about your ministry, what about your government?
A. Our government under Mr Modi has done in 5 years what was not fone 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. 34 crore people have bank accounts now. Now roads worth 34 crores are being built every day. We made express highways, tunnels and bridges. We are now making the Mumbai-Delhi express highway. Will finish the work for the Delhi-Meerut Expressway tomorrow. People are seeing.
Q. But not hiding the NSSO report. Not releasing the NSSO report.
A. See there are always various kinds of report. We have also created employment opportunities. The growth rate will also increase which will go up to 7.5% by 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.
Q. The absence of data raises questions on the government’s intention as if you have something to hide.
A. 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 and standup. People are being benefitted which will only go up in future.
Q. If you are so sure of the opportunities you have created, why did you not release the data?
A. 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.
Q. Since you have been a BJP president, my question is BJP has become a person-centric party. It is no longer a people-centric party as per your opponents.
A. See out party is ideology centric. Nationalism is our soul. Good governance and development is our mission. And today, as taught by Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyay, is a dream. Nation first, after that party and after that me. This is a workers’ party and not a family’s. Here leaders are not born from Naamdaars. 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. And in 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 countrymen’s dreams and ambition will be achieved is what I have faith in.
Q. Since you often do calculations what will unfold for your party on May 23.
A. I have faith that the people will reinstate their trust in us and we will change India’s future in the next 5 years.
Q. How many seats do you expect?
A. More than 300.
Q. So you are saying that Modi wave is still there?
A. Yes, 100%
Q. No need of new allies? Are there any potential allies?
A. We have done many successful alliances.
Q. It is being said that Naveen Patanaik, Jagan Reddy and KCR are your potential allies.
A. What people do and say is up to them. But we have to include everyone with us with a large heart and strengthen NDA. To strengthen BJP and work for the country is our sole mission. We will try to get them on board and togetherly take the country forward.
Q. Is BJP going to get more than 300 seats or the NDA?
A. No, I am talking about the BJP. When we include the alliances it will be much more.
Q. But the opposition is united.
A. They can also try their luck. Results will follow post polls.
source: Money control