BJP’s Nitin Gadkari quitting politics? Here’s what Modi’s minister said

Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday dismissed media reports speculating his retirement from politics and called for responsible reporting on this matter. The Union minister of road transport and highways was interacting with the media on the progress of Mumbai-Goa National Highway (NH-66) in Ratnagiri when he was asked about the reports speculating his retirement from politics.

“I have no intentions of retiring from politics, and the media must uphold responsible journalism in their reporting on this matter,” the minister said, days after he hinted at his political unhappiness.

Gadkari on Sunday surprised many in political circles when he said that he had done a lot of work in his career and it would be alright if people did not vote for him as he wanted to spend more time on works related to soil conservation, climate change and waste land. Speaking at an award ceremony in Nagpur, the minister said there is a lot of scope for experiments in areas such as water conservation, climate change and use of waste land.

“I like to do them and sometimes do them forcefully. I have already told people it’s enough now; vote for me if you agree and don’t if you think otherwise,” Gadkari said.

“I am in no mood for buttering (them) up. If you like me, it is okay, or someone else will come (in my place). In fact, I want to spend more time on these works (related to water conservation, climate change and use of waste land)” he added.

His remarks was seen as an indication that the Nagpur strongman with close ties to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is unhappy over the recent strain in ties with the BJP top brass. Gadkari from dropped from BJP’s top decision-making body last year while deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was brought on board the central election committee along with a few others.

A close aide of Gadkari, however, warned not to draw incorrect inferences from his statement.

He clearly said that the people would vote for him if they liked his work. This line clarifies that he is not planning to retire,” he said, adding, “What he meant to say was that his life’s mission was to work for the cause of farmers and it would not be affected even if he failed to get elected again.”