Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari on Sunday said that he is working "closely and relentlessly" with both Central and State leaders including the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis. The Minister said that this is to ensure BJP's victory in the coming State Assembly elections. Gadkari's statement comes after a leading news agency claimed, quoting party insiders, that "Gadkari has largely been sidelined from the affairs of the poll-bound state despite being one of the BJP's tallest leaders from Maharashtra". The agency further quoted the BJP Minister saying that "Amit Shah and Devendra Fadnavis are the people making the important decisions and Gadkari has been left out of it".
Terming the report as "completely baseless," Gadkari said in a statement: "A figment of imagination, it seems to have been created with a single-minded agenda to mislead and confuse. I strongly condemn the complete disregard of the basic ethics of journalism while writing this so-called piece of news." He added, "I want to make it clear that BJP is a disciplined, cadre-based party. We are all working towards winning the forthcoming Maharashtra elections. I have personally been working closely and relentlessly with both the Central and State leadership, including the Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis to ensure our victory. Had the reporter taken the trouble to check the facts, the same would have been revealed."
Gadkari has further requested the media to avoid "reporting that is away from the truth" and not fall prey to "mala fide intentions and nefarious agenda." The Minister further went on to say, "As people and party-men are smart and aware of the reality, such reportage will not affect me or the BJP, but shall definitely raise a question on the credibility of media." The news report also stated that "although Gadkari was part of the Core Committee on Maharashtra, he had virtually no say in ticket distribution."
Maharashtra, which has 288 Assembly seats, will go to polls on October 21, while the counting of votes will take place on October 24. Currently, the BJP holds 122 seats, while the Shiv Sena holds 63 seats. The Opposition held by UPA has 42 seats. Earlier in May, the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance won 41 seats while the UPA was reduced to merely five seats.
(With ANI inputs)