The Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari has said that those who are asking for proof of Modi government's development work should see Priyanka Gandhi's Ganga Yatra. The fact that Priyanka managed to do a steamer/boat ride in Ganga from Allahabad to Varanasi is proof enough that Ganga is clean.
"If I had not constructed the waterways, how she could have travelled. I got to know that she drank Ganga water. These two things prove that she has accepted our good work," Gadkari said.
Nitin Gadkari, widely hailed as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's most performing minister, ruled out any Prime Ministerial ambition. "Neither do I have any aspirations nor does the RSS have any such plans. There is nothing like this. My statement was twisted by the media. You can go to YouTube and listen to it. I never said so. Neither am I a contender for any post nor am I in any race. In fact, I am sure that we will get a bigger majority than we got in 2014 and Modiji will again become Prime Minister," Gadkari said.
Gadkari said that Narendra Modi would return as Prime Minister with a huge mandate and it would be bigger than the one he got in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Asked about the reasons behind this confidence, he cited the steps taken by the government like the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme, full tax rebate on earning up to Rs 5 lakh, assured monthly pension for the unorganized labour force and 10 per cent reservation for the poor among the general categories.
Gadkari said the fact that opposition parties were trying to unite against Modi was not a new political phenomenon. A similar attempt had been made in the 1971 elections against Indira Gandhi and had failed.
"My experience in politics says two plus two is not always four. So speculating on the basis of arithmetic will not be proper. I don't think that the BJP will lose many seats as being predicted. We will increase our tally. Like Indira Gandhi, Modi will defeat the opposition," he said.
The senior BJP leader and former party President rejected the charges as opposition's conspiracy that his party was trying to create an atmosphere in the country that "Modi is India and India is Modi" on the very lines of the Congress slogan "India is Indira and Indira is India".
"We are patriots and dedicated to our motherland. We never said this. This is a conspiracy of the opposition parties," he said.
On the BJP's 2014 election promise of "achhe din" and bringing back black money stashed abroad, he said the government had provided electricity in all villages, houses for all, gas cylinders and health security.
Don't link airstrikes with the election
"Air strikes against Pakistan should not be linked to elections. It should neither be made an electoral issue nor should anyone take credit for it," Gadkari said and added that if opposition parties were raising doubts over it, it was their problem.
"But I would request them that they should not do politics over it," he said.
Asked why the ruling dispensation was raising the issue in its election campaign, he said: "Security is supreme for us. This issue should not be politicised. If anyone in India raises doubts on the martyrdom of our soldiers, if someone speaks in the language Pakistan speaks, all these go against the country's interest. These are issues of national security and everyone should speak in one voice. There should not be politics over such issues."
(Inputs from IANS)