Nitin Gadkari steps in to control crowd that mocked Arvind Kejriwal at govt event
Nitin Gadkari, the Union minister for water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation was in the news again on Thursday, this time for stepping in to control an unruly crowd mocking Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who went on to thank him for working together for the development of the city-state.
Gadkari and Kejriwal were participating in a high-security function of the central government at Vigyan Bhawan to lay the foundation stone of nine projects for Yamuna Rejuvenation under the Namami Gange Programme.
As Kejriwal took stage, a group of people in the audience began mocking the Delhi CM and mimicking his cough, and started shouting slogans “Bharat Mata ki jai” and “Nitin Gadkari zindabad” (long live Nitin Gadkari).
The union minister stepped in and signalled the crowd to stop. “Please keep silent; it’s a government function; maintain decorum,” Gadkari told the crowd.
Gadkari’s Bharatiya Janata Party is in opposition in Delhi, ruled by the Aam Aadmi Party, and there is no love lost between the two.
Kejriwal said that the cooperation between the Central and the state governments is a very important ingredient of the federal structure of the country.
“ I want to say that ever since our government has worked with him, Nitin Gadkari has never made us feel like he’s from an opposition party, or we’re from another party. I don’t know about others but the amount of love that he has given us (in Delhi) I don’t think he would have given even those in the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP). Politics should not be played where development is concerned,” the AAP chief said.
At a lecture in Deon Monday, Gadkari was quoted as saying: “I believe that overall, majority of the IPS, IAS officers are clean and do a good job but if I am the party president, and my MPs and MLAs are not doing well, then who is responsible?” The remark came two days after the 61-year-old leader, a former BJP president, said in Pune that the “leadership should own up to defeat and failures”. Both were seen as comments aimed at the BJP’s leadership for the party’s loss in the state elections in three key Hindi heartland states, Rajasthan, Chhatisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh. Gadkari said later that his Marathi speech in Pune was misquoted by media and that he has noticed a “sinister campaign” to “twist” his words.
A total of 11 projects have been taken up under the Namami Gange Programme by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) aimed at conserving the Yamuna in Delhi. Most of the projects are for sewerage infrastructure and are in various stages of implementation. These projects under Yamuna Action Plan (YAP) III are located in three drainage zones namely Kondli, Rithala and Okhla in Delhi.
Gadkari said the mandate of cleaning Ganga’s tributaries was taken up with the launch of Namami Gange programme and with these projects the sewage water falling into the Yamuna river, the most important tributary of Ganga will be stopped.
“Getting Delhi rid of air and water pollution is this country’s biggest need. This is a tough job but not impossible. After our government came in power under Prime Minister Narendra Modi we have sanctioned work of about ₹25,000 crore for Namami Gange...Ganga’s water quality has improved in many places but we have completed only 10-15% of the total work, this financial year-end we will aim to sanction 70-80%,” Gadkari said.