Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, who dismissed earlier this week that he is not in the PM race, today repeated that he is not eyeing the post and the BJP will come back with a "huge majority" for a second term under "Modi ji's leadership and he will again be the prime minister." "I am not a dark horse and I have no self-agenda. I don't want to become the prime minister," the BJP's candidate from Maharashtra's Nagpur told NDTV.
On the recent controversy about PM Modi's remark on former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Nitin Gadkari, in an apparent reference to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, said: "What about the people who say that prime minister "chor hai" and then apologise in court."
He also made a remark about Rahul Gandhi's leadership skills. "He should think cautiously before making such comments so that he does not have to apologise," Mr Gadkari said.
Here are the highlights of Nitin Gadkari's interview to NDTV:
On controversy over senior BJP leaders like LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi not getting party tickets to contest the national elections this time, Nitin Gadkari said: "Advani ji and MM Joshi are our senior leaders. It was decided by our party that anyone above 75 won't contest."
"We don't run a dynastic party. Our party ideology is very clear. In Congress, no one other than the Gandhis can think of leading the party": Nitin Gadkari to NDTV.
Nitin Gadkari said actor-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha contesting on Congress ticket in Bihar is "political opportunism". "He is contesting on Congress ticket while his wife (Poonam Saxena) is Samajwadi candidate... Isn't it political opportunism? He would have stayed with the BJP if he was made a minister," he said.
He also spoke about the recent controversy about PM Modi's remark on former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. "PM Modi is not PM of the BJP... he has been abused. PM "chor hai" has been used at least 56 times. I have raised this in the press club. He is the prime minister of the country. So every action has a reaction."
"2+2 is never four in politics. The opposition tried to unite against Indira ji in 1971, but they did not succeed," he said.
"In 2014, there was an anti-incumbency wave against UPA. PM Modi gave people hope," the Union Minister said.
"People will vote for us based on our performance of five years," he said.
"I am confident that Modi ji will become the prime minister again. I am sure that the BJP will get majority and form the government under Modi ji," he said.
"In the 5 years, we have worked a lot on economic reform, social reforms. Under Pradhan Mantri Yojana, we benefited 5 crore people. Mudra scheme also benefited 3 crore people."