Off The Cuff with Nitin Gadkari

Updated: 1 April, 2021 2:55 pm IST

In conversation with Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said India’s road infrastructure will be comparable to the best of the US and Europe by 2024. There will be access-controlled expressways, green highways, public transport running on electricity and many other improvements, he said, adding that road projects worth Rs 24,000 crore are already being developed under the Bharatmala project. The Delhi-Mumbai expressway will be ready by 2022, Gadkari said.

The Union minister said the need of the hour is expeditious decision-making and positive approach, as he cited an example of delayed payments to road contractors that in turn delay many projects. Gadkari said the “total system is corrupt” but he is not afraid of anybody as he does not do “any work, which is illegal or unethical”.

The minister also termed the allegations of Swedish bus manufacturer Scania gifting him bus as “totally baseless”. He said he was promoting the company as he wanted to get ethanol-run buses to India and Scania manufacturers such buses.

On his party BJP, Gadkari said there is internal democracy, and that elections are held at all levels to appoint people. He said every party president has his vision and approach but there has been no change in the basic structure of the party.

The former BJP president said nationalism is the soul of BJP’s ideology.

Speaking about the citizenship law, the Union minister said it will stop the influx of refugees into India.

On returning to Maharashtra politics, Gadkari said he is tied to national politics now and does not have any intentions of going back to the state.

The Union minister also said he thinks the BJP will sweep elections in Assam and West Bengal. He said while people of Assam will vote for the work done by the Sarbananda Sonowal government, Bengal will bring BJP to power because its people are fed up with Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress government.

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