Union road and transport minister and senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will get a full majority in Goa as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) are dividing votes and will reduce the strength of the Congress. Gadkari also questioned why the Congress was not declaring Harish Rawat as its chief ministerial face in Uttarakhand if he was capable.
When asked if the BJP would need Gadkari in Goa to salvage a situation again, Gadkari, in an exclusive interview with CNN-News18 at his Delhi residence, said on Wednesday, “I feel that we don’t need Gadkari there because there are two good friends — one is TMC and other is AAP… they want to reduce the support of the Congress party, they are dividing the votes and that is one of the strengths for us to get a good victory in Goa.” Gadkari was rushed to Goa in 2017 after the BJP fell short of a majority and he cobbled together the numbers to form the government though the Congress was the single-largest party.
The Congress in Goa has been apprehending that both the TMC and AAP were cutting anti-incumbency votes in Goa against the BJP. Gadkari’s statement to CNN-News18 now adds more fuel to the fire amidst back-and-forth amongst the TMC and Congress over a possible alliance.
Gadkhari had launched BJP manifestos in Goa and Uttarakhand in the last two days.
He said Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant and Pushkar Dhami as the Uttarakhand CM have done “good work”. When asked if Sawant has been able to fill the big shoes of the late Manohar Parrikar, Gadkari said: “Manohar Parrikar was a gem person and a very capable leader of Goa. We always feel the vacuum because of Manohar Parrikar in the politics of Goa. One thing is also clear that after Manohar Parrikar, the way in which Pramod Sawant has taken the charge and the way in which he delivered the total development work in Goa, I am fully confident that under the leadership of Sawant, people will vote for the BJP and we will win over the situation and get a good majority.”
Gadkari, however, said it was unfortunate that Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal had decided to fight as an Independent candidate from Panaji. “That seat (Panaji), the party had promised to one leader who was really an important leader. It was difficult to give him (Utpal) a ticket from there, we gave him an alternative but he was not ready to accept it. It is really unfortunate but this is the fact,” he said.
On Uttarakhand elections, Gadkari said he could not understand why Congress is not declaring Harish Rawat as the CM candidate when is a “capable person”. “I don’t know what is the politics behind, but ultimately I feel that the BJP has got a good chance in Uttarakhand,” the Union minister said.
He said people have a lot of good impression of the new CM Pushkar Dhami who is young, dynamic and is taking initiatives. “He is has got the vision that he can change the situation in Uttarakhand. And one of the reasons is that he is reasonably a good person, approachable to all the people, he listens to the people, he is humble, which is becoming an important strength for him. His acceptability is day-by-day increasing,” Gadkari told CNN-News18.
The senior BJP leader made light of Harak Singh Rawat’s exit from the BJP for the Congress, saying it was not ideology based politics but the politics of convenience. “Politics is a game of compulsions, contradictions, limitations and some people are coming and going. If anywhere there is a difference of ideology, then I can understand. ‘Matbhinita’ (difference of opinion) is not a problem but ‘vichhar-shunyata’ (zero ideology) is a problem. We need to make our politics on the basis of an ideology. But today there is no ideology — I never understand why people are leaving the party, I never understand why people are coming to the party. I always explain it as the politics of convenience, which is not good for the democracy,” the minister said.
With inputs from News18