Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on Thursday rubbished rumours about replacing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and running for the Prime Minister's post in 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The head of a government organisation in Maharashtra had reportedly written to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) demanding that Mr Gadkari be allowed to lead the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) if it wants to win the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
In an interview with news agency ANI, Mr Gadkari said, "No there is no chance. I am happy where I am right now."
The senior BJP leader added that he has a lot of work on his plate. "I have to complete Ganga work first, building of Express Highway Access Control in 13-14 countries and I also want to make roads for Chaar Dham and other works. I am happy doing these works and want to complete it," he said.
The senior BJP leader who on Thursday laid the foundation stones for national highways projects worth Rs 9,533 crore in Arunachal Pradesh, accused the previous government of ignoring the northeast.
He said, "A project of Rs 4,000 crore for building 400 km road is underway. Arunachal Pradesh is a large area but it has less population even international border is attached to it. There is poverty and unemployment as the state lacks roads. Once the roads are built, it will bring jobs here."
"The forest-based industry could come here if roads were made. I believe in northeast the previous governments have not worked well. But when the Modi government came into power, we decided to give northeast the first priority," he added.
He further told news agency ANI that the upcoming development projects in the northeast will completely change the image of the northeastern region.
"Road, Railway and Aviation sectors have been improved in the northeast since last 4.5 years. The development work worth Rs 2.50 lakh crore are underway in the northeast," the minister said.
"The upcoming development in the northeast will completely change the image of the region. Our dream is to make northeast a prosperous and enriched part of our country," he added.
On the ministry's plan to develop waterways, he said, "We are building six bridges on Brahmaputra River. We are also focusing on developing the waterways like making five-star and seven-star cruise."
He also expressed road safety concern in the country. "We are making an express highway from Mumbai to Delhi at cost of Rs 1 lakh crore. I believe when it comes to the road sector, the image of our country in the last five years has changed. In the coming days, our priority will be road safety," he added.
Mr Gadkari on Thursday inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for several national highway projects at Roing in Lower Dibang Valley District of Arunachal Pradesh.
He also inaugurated two bridges over the Lohit and Dibang River.