Asserting that decisions of the NDA government are made through a democratic process, Road, Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari today said one of the tragedies with the government is “image vs reality”.
“One of the tragedies with our party and the government is image versus reality and ground reality versus perception,” Gadkari, who also holds the shipping portfolio, said when asked whether ministers get a chance to speak during Cabinet meetings.
“We have very strong discussions in the Cabinet. Many times, we oppose views of even what the Prime Minister has and there is a democratic system and by that, we are taking decisions.”
He tried to fight off the perception in certain quarters that there is no democratic system and it is all personality-centric.
“This is not the fact. We have qualitative discussions and everyone is free,” he stressed while answering queries at the India Today Conclave here.
Citing an example, the former BJP president added that even sometimes Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal criticises his policies and vice versa.
“It is a very healthy atmosphere and we are working for the interest of the country. We are transparent, time-bound, result-oriented and the most important thing in our Cabinet is we are making policies and taking decisions. Not taking decision is not the policy of this government,” he emphasised.
Goyal, in a lighter vein, said Gadkari speaks the most during Cabinet meetings.
Asked which minister gets most flak, the New and Renewable Energy Minister quipped: “I get scolded the most.” Goyal commended Gadkari for his experience and “qualitative ideas” he brings to the table during discussions.
Asked on his presenting an “exaggerated” picture on developments in the road sector, Gadkari said earlier (during the regime of UPA government) the roads constructed per day was 2 km and now it is 18 km per day.
“The data are in the public domain and anybody can check the facts… I never give promises,” he added.
When asked if government’s “tall promise” of electricity to all by 2019 is not fulfilled, Goyal said the government’s focus is on performance.
“We go into 2019 with performance, in his (Gadkari) as well as my department, in Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s department. We will go to people with our track record. Everybody in our country will have 24/7 energy access in 2019,” he promised.
On ease of doing, Sitharaman said things have got better in the last two years and the government is also engaging the states for improving ease of doing business.