Road Expansion Pays Off, Nitin Gadkari Set To Retain Minister Post In 3.0

Nitin Gadkari is likely to retain the road transport portfolio in Modi 3.0 cabinet

New Delhi:

BJP veteran Nitin Gadkari is likely to retain the road transport and highways portfolio in the third Narendra Modi government, thanks to the stellar work in expanding road connectivity to the most remote corners in the first two terms.

The allocation of ministerial berths is a challenge for the BJP this time, as it has fallen short of majority and has to follow coalition dharma by accommodating allies. Its partners this time include Coalition-era veterans N Chandrababu Naidu and Nitish Kumar. Despite this, the BJP is not keen to let go of key ministries, especially the big four — Home, Finance, Defence and External Affairs.

BJP sources had earlier told NDTV that they are not keen on handing over the road transport portfolio to allies either so that the momentum in expanding roads continues.

According to a government’s review at the end of 2023, the national highways network in the country increased by 60 per cent — from 91,287 km in 2014 to 1,46,145 km in 2023.

The length of four-lane national highways increased by 2.5 times and the length of single-lane stretches decreased.

Mr Gadkari’s time in office also saw the average pace of national highway construction increase by 143 per cent, according to government data. He is also credited with launching the Bharat New Car Assessment Programme for safety rating of passenger cars.

Mr Gadkari has scored a hat-trick by winning the Nagpur Lok Sabha seat with a margin of 1.37 lakh votes. His winning margin went down by 78,397 this time.

Speaking to the media after his win, the former BJP chief thanked the people of Nagpur, party workers and friends. He said he will work towards making Nagpur the most beautiful, clean and pollution-free city in the country.

After the NDA parliamentary party chose Narendra Modi as its leader, Mr Gadkari posted on X, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s far-sighted leadership turned the last 10 years into an era of unprecedented development and public welfare. Going forward, the NDA is committed to serving the nation with new strength and pace.”