Aap Ki Adalat: Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has ruled out retirement from politics, but added that he would continue to do social work while remaining in politics.
Replying to questions from Rajat Sharma in 'Aap Ki Adalat' show Gadkari said, "For me, politics is an instrument of social and economic reforms. I have out-of-the-box ideas in my mind to transform society. And I would like to work on these ideas while staying in politics. But my remarks at Mohan Dharia Memorial Lecture were misinterpreted by journalists who wrote that I want to retire from politics. I never said I will retire from politics, and they had to withdraw their reports after four hours."
When Rajat Sharma pointed out that when he was dropped from BJP central parliamentary board, NCP leaders had issued statement saying that Gadkari was removed because of his rising stature. Gadkari replied: " I always used to say in BJP, 'today I am a minister, tomorrow I may not be'. They will make news out of it. One who is born is sure to die. I am not immortal. My biggest qualification is I am a karyakarta (worker) of BJP and swayamsevak(volunteer) of RSS. This qualification is permanent. ..I am not a sadhu-sanyasi. I look after ny family, my home, and then I work for society and nation."
"I am a conviction-oriented politician. I am not a professional politician. I entered politics when the Emergency was imposed during Jayaprakash Narayan's movement. For me, politics is not a profession, it is a mission....I don't bother what others say. I say everything with conviction and if I make an incorrect statement, I publicly admit it's a mistake."
ALSO READ: Aap Ki Adalat: What are new driving policy rules? Nitin Gadkari reveals
NEW DRIVING POLICY RULES
Gadkari said, his ministry will soon come up with new driving policy rules under which applicants will have to clear a theoretical test online and then appear personally for driving test. He said, "I admit, even after being Transport Minister for nine years, I could not reduce the number of road accidents. Every year, there are more than 5 lakh road accidents, and nearly 3 lakh people suffer disabilities. 1.5 lakh deaths occur every year, and out of them, 60 per cent are in the 18-34 years age group. We spent Rs 10,000 crore to identify black spots where accidents frequently occur. We are building underpasses and bridges at those spots."
"Secondly, we have made six airbags mandatory in economy model cars. Thirdly, we are going to make strict enforcement. People do not respect law and have no fear. Nearly 3 per cent GDP loss takes place every year because of road accidents. I feel sorry that the largest number of road accidents take place in India. We are therefore making changes in driving license policy."
Gadkari revealed that when he became Transport Minister in 2014, he conducted checks on all government vehicle drivers. "It was found that nearly 40 per cent drivers had cataract problems. A chief minister had a driver who was blind in both eyes and used to run the vehicle with the help of sound. A minister from Maharashtra told me his driver was blind in one eye....My nine-year-long experience tells me that the major reason behind road accidents is human behaviour. Our values and character are quite different from those in Western countries, where they have respect and fear for laws."
ON RAHUL GANDHI
Gadkari advised Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to follow the footsteps of his grandmother Indira Gandhi, who avoided criticizing her domestic rivals in foreign land. "After Emergency, when Indira ji went to London during Janata Party rule, she was facing charges before the Shah Commission. When reporters asked her about the problems she was facing in India, Indira ji replied she would not discuss outside India, whatever is happening with her inside the country. I think, Rahul ji should learn this from Indira ji. Whatever differences he has with the government, whatever anger he has, he has the fundamental right of freedom of speech. He must speak inside India. He should not denigrate or insult our country outside. "
On Rahul's disqualification from Parliament, Gadkari said:" BJP or Modi ji didn't end his membership. It was done by the court. It will not be proper to blame us. Rest is politics. When I was the party president, we were in opposition, we did not allow the House to run for two-three months. Members used to behave just like they are behaving right now. It was Atal ji (Vajpayee) who said, parties will come and go, leaders will come and go, prime ministers will change, the people of this country is sovereign, democracy is supreme, the nation must move forward."
Gadkari reminded Congress that during Dr Manmohan Singh's rule, Amit Shah was pressurized by investigators to implicate Narendra Modi. " I want to ask them, what did they do during UPA rule with Amit Shah? Why was he told to become prosecution witness and implicate Modi? We will let you go scot-free. What type of politics is this? let us all sit together and work on ideology-based politics. Let us all make qualitative changes in our politics and democracy. Parties and leaders may differ, but nation's development, upliftment of poor and parliamentary democracy must be our objectives. Parliament is the temple of democracy for us. We should preserve its dignity."
HERE IS THE FULL VIDEO