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.
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 Chief Minister used to suffer from a persistent form of cough for over 40 years, before he underwent corrective surgery at a Bengaluru hospital in September 2016.
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.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was, on Thursday, mocked with coughing sounds by BJP workers during an event. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari intervened and asked the audience to maintain silencehttps://t.co/jM6CFSkvRh
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) December 28, 2018
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.
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 had 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, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya o 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.
“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.
This is not the first time the Delhi Chief Minister has been mocked over his past ailment. Clips of cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu allegedly mocking Mr Kejriwal’s cough went viral on the social media two years ago, when he was still contemplating jumping ship from the BJP to the Aam Aadmi Party.