New Delhi: The scale of victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand was unexpected, said Nitin Gadkari, member of the party’s parliamentary board that had selected the candidates for the five state assembly elections. In an interview to Mint, Gadkari, India’s minister for road transport and highways, shipping and ports said, while the party was expecting a win, it hadn’t anticipated the scale of it and attributed the success to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign in Uttar Pradesh. Gadkari, a former BJP president, also spoke about the government continuing with its ongoing reforms agenda in the backdrop of the Saturday’s mandate. Edited excerpts:
What is your reaction to the state assembly election results?
It is a victory for the vision and decision making process and socio-economic transformation which are results of government policies and leadership.
Did you expect the scale of this win?
We were expecting a win in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, but the margin is much more then what we anticipated. What we were expecting, it is more than that.
So, what went wrong in Punjab?
There was the same government for 10-15 years and anti-incumbency factor was natural.
In your opinion are these results a mandate to the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government to undertake the next set of economic reforms in the country?
We need a majority in the Rajya Sabha. We need support from others and numbers for the upcoming President elections, so we would be working on it now. Other reforms such as labour reforms are already going on, where we included the provision of shopping malls to operate at night. This will create employment opportunities. A lot of reforms have already come out.
What is the next set of reforms that the National Democratic Alliance government will now embark upon?
We have been doing what is required. The Parliament yesterday approved the shipping ministry’s Admiralty (Jurisdiction and Settlement of Maritime Claims) Bill 2016. (The bill confers admiralty jurisdiction on high courts located in coastal states, up to territorial waters and can be further extended to exclusive economic zone or any other maritime zone of India or islands constituting part of the Indian territory).
You need to see that this government is focusing on decision making and results are visible. Earlier, a decision to not take a decision was also considered to be a decision. Our government wants to go ahead and show the outcomes of decision making.