Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, turned 64 today.
Gadkari, who became the youngest president of the BJP in 2009, has been instrumental in a number of successful infrastructure projects in the country. During his tenure as a Public Works Department Minister of Maharashtra, Gadkari introduced a number of infrastructure initiatives, which made possible for several cities, villages to stay connected.
He is loved and respected across party line. Gadkari also courted controversies, but managed to sail through without losing his ministership.
Here are five interesting things you might not know about the Union Minister:
Nitin Gadkari never made us feel he belongs to a rival party
In December 2018, when Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government was at loggerheads with the Centre over a range of issues, Delhi Chief Minister had showered praise on Nitin Gadkari. “Nitin Gadkari ji has never made us feel that he belongs to a rival party. I don’t know about others, but the way he has showered love on us, I don’t think the BJP people have got that much love,” Kejriwal had said, according to PTI.
When Nitin Gadkari panned Rahul Gandhi
In February 2019, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari hit back at Rahul Gandhi saying he did not need a certificate of courage from the Congress President after the latter had described him as the only person in BJP with guts over his comment on “domestic responsibilities”.
Gadkari had later said Rahul Gandhi was relying on “twisted” media reports to attack the Narendra Modi government. In a series of tweets Gadkari said, “Rahulji I don’t need a certificate of courage from you, but I am surprised that as president of a national Party, you are referring to twisted reports filed by the media to attack our government. This is the strength Modi and our government that you have to take the support of others’ shoulders.”
In another tweet, which came after Gadkari’s response to his first, Rahul Gandhi asked the minister to speak up on the issue of job generation. Later, Rahul, in a jab, issued a “huge apology” for having forgotten the most important issue.
Forefront of infrastructure development
Whether it’s reviving stalled highway projects worth Rs 3.85 lakh crore or starting cargo shipments on Ganga River, Gadkari has been at the forefront of infrastructure development. Some of the key projects he undertook were Eastern Peripheral Expressway, Delhi-Meerut Expressway and Zojila tunnel.
When he told finance minister to sack RBI governor
In August 2019, Nitin Gadkari courted controversy when he advised the late Arun Jaitley, the then Finance Minister, to "throw out" the RBI Governor because he “was no good”. According to a leading daily, Gadkari said that he tried hard to convince the RBI governor to rethink some of his policies. Later, the FM told him the RBI governor was threatening to quit. And, that is when Gadkari told FM that ‘if he doesn’t quit better throw him out, he is no good’.
Don't believe in false commitments: Nitin Gadkari
Nitin Gadkari attacked leaders who “sell dreams”, but don’t deliver and said he doesn’t believe in making false commitments and that whatever he promises is fulfilled 100 per cent.
"People like (political) leaders who sell them dreams. But if these dreams are not realised, then they beat them up (politically) as well," Gadkari said, speaking at a function. "I am not the one who only sells dreams, but I deliver 100 per cent what I talk about," he said.