A Visionary Performer
A visionary with great ideas and an innovative approach, an able administrator who believes in attaining results , an iconic leader for the party workers, a Leader of Opposition who keeps the government on its toes when in opposition; a performer par excellence as a Minister are the words that best bring about the profile of Nitin Gadkari. In other words, here is a leader who has the ability to make democracy, deliver!
For him politics was never confined to gaining power. He always looked at it as an instrument for bringing about all round development of the people. He believes that “Seva and Vikas”, (service and development) lead the way for better public service, which in turn expands and strengthens the base of the party, at the grass root level.
A Swayamsevak of the RSS to the core, for Mr Gadkari, social justice, harmony and equality are matters of commitment. His skills in social engineering , withstood the litmus test of electoral politics in the recent Maharashtra assembly elections especially in the Nagpur district.
His clear vision and perfect understanding of the needs of the masses, has helped him to bring effective changes that have benefitted the common man. In political as well as the social spheres Mr. Gadkari, has always adopted an all encompassing approach. Antyodaya, (to reach out to the last person on the social ladder) has always been the focus of his development agenda. His willingness to accept suggestions and implement the viable ones helped Mr. Gadkari to change the face and functioning of the Public Works Department (PWD) of Maharashtra Government during his very illustrious tenure as its Minister.
A Sincere Party Soldier
Mr. Gadkari began as a grass root level worker and has successfully led from the front, several agitations and other programmes of the BJP . He has worked in different capacities and has held varied positions within the party, before taking up the post of Maharashtra BJP President in 2004. As a true party soldier, he has all along accepted whatever responsibility the party wanted him to shoulder and has carried it out to the best of his abilities.
After taking over as Maharashtra BJP President in November 2004, Mr. Gadkari visited almost every tehsil and knows countless party workers by name. Due to his dynamism, development-oriented approach and openness, the BJP has been able to bring various new sections of society in its fold.
Early Days of Activism
Nitin Gadkari learned his initial lessons in nationalism and patriotism at a very young age. He entered the political arena as a student activist. He joined the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in 1976 and took active part in university elections. In 1979 he became the Secretary of Vidharbha region. Under his stewardship ABVP won the lections for all positions in the Nagpur University Students' Council. During his tenure he successfully organized the 28th National Convention of ABVP.
At the age of 24, he was elected as the Nagpur City President of Bhartiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM). In 1985 he became secretary of BJP Nagpur City and he worked relentlessly to strengthen the party organization in urban and rural areas of the district.
At the age of 32, Nitin Gadkari successfully contested elections for Maharashtra Legislative Council from Nagpur division Graduates Constituency, spread over five districts, and became an M.L.C. He repeated his successful performance four consecutive times in 1990, 1996, 2002 and 2008. Notably, he was elected unopposed in 2002.
Mr. Gadkari's success in the legislative politics runs parallel with his organizational achievements in BJP. At the age of 35, he became the General Secretary of BJP in Maharashtra. Under his leadership the party organization spread its tentacles all over the state. The party's spectacular victory in the Nagpur Municipal Corporation in 1992 elections, established his organization prowess beyond doubt. At the age of 38, Mr. Gadkari was inducted in the Maharashtra Cabinet as the Minister for Public Works. High level of result orientation and performance marked his ministerial inning. He was Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council at the age of 42. As a responsible leader of opposition, he took up various important issues such as farmer’s suicides and made the government listen to. He also came out with out-of-box suggestions and viable solutions to address these issues.
In 2004, Mr. Gadkari at the age of 47, became the President of BJP Maharashtra State.
Mark on Governance:
Gadkari’s stint as Public Works Minister of Maharashtra (1995-99) made him world-famous thanks to his resoluteness in swiftly completing mega projects like the Mumbai-Pune Expressway or the network of 55 flyover bridges in Mumbai at the costs way below the estimated expenditure. During these four and a half years he left an indelible mark of his style of governance on his department. He played a key role in shaping the Prime Minister’s Gram Sadak Yojana. During the NDA rule, the Central PWD was revamped as per his suggestions. Mr. Gadkari transformed Nagpur, making it one of the most beautiful cities of India. His lasting contribution is his work for uplifting the poor and the deprived.
His thrust area always has remained the economic and social upliftment of the have-nots. A case in point is his work for the educated unemployed. When he was Minister, he launched a scheme for qualified unemployed civil engineers. They were allowed to register with the PWD and undertake its assignments, estimated to cost up to Rs.15 lakh. Mr. Gadkari provided work to around 30000 engineers through this bold initiative. At the same time, Gadkari started a campaign to reward the employees doing good work and penalise those shirking their responsibilities. Every year since, the State Governor distributes awards to outstanding PWD engineers on the birth anniversary of Sir M. Visvesvaraya. Such pioneering efforts instilled a confidence among the PWD personnel. Under Mr. Gadkari, they completed several prestigious assignments in record time.
Mr. Gadkari’s two achievements stand out in particular. He pioneered the concept of Public-Private partnership (PPP) in infrastructure development. The BOT (Build-Operate-Transfer) model has the basis of this concept. It is now implemented widely in India, thanks to this initiative large budgetary funds were made available for rural road development. The other is the up-gradation of norms for the construction industry. Completion of mega projects in a time bound frame, too, is his initiative. Establishment of a Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) was one of his innovative initiatives through which funds were raised from open market for infrastructure projects for the first time in India
One of the first tasks Mr. Gadkari planned was to provide all-weather road connectivity to the 13736 villages in Maharashtra. He noted that they had remained unconnected even after 50 years of independence. He remarked that it would take 350 years to complete the work through annual budgets. As finances could not become available from government coffers, he persuaded NABARD officials and obtained a soft loan of Rs. 700 crore for rural connectivity. Mr. Gadkari approached Naxalite-infested areas where no road work was allowed by Naxalites. He secured the assistance of the Border Road Organisation (BRO) to construct roads and bridges, thus providing the tribals with easy and permanent road access.
As Guardian Minister for Nagpur District, Mr. Gadkari changed the complexion of Nagpur and the district. Low cost housing schemes for economically weaker sections, Markets for hawkers. Development and beautification of prominent places like Deekshabhoomi, where Dr. B.R.Ambedkar embraced Buddhism, were some of his noteworthy achievements.
Social Outlook, Professional Approach
A successful entrepreneur, Mr. Gadkari tops the list of progressive leaders who have profound concerns for socio-economic development and environmental protection. His personality is a perfect mix of entrepreneurship and social leadership. This has helped him in creating organisations with social outlook and professional approach. He has successfully utilized urban resources for creating employment opportunities in rural areas. His sincere and deep interest in tapping the conventional and non-conventional energy sources, to their optimum, is visible through the various projects he has launched, through his Purti Group of companies, in the region.
A co-operative supermarket competing with private malls and mega markets; successful implementation of first private sector composite 2500TPD sugar factory in an area where even stalwarts rejected the idea of starting a sugar factory; Ethanol plant of 1,20,000 ltrs; 26 MWT of Power Generation unit and Bio-fertiliser with the country's first biodiesel pump are all examples of his commitment to implement social schemes in a professional manner. His business group is also running a solvent extraction Soyabean plant and a cogeneration power plant of 8 mw capacity. Being an agriculturist, Mr Gadkari is the first facilitator of solar fencing. He firmly believes in improving the financial status of the farmers by increasing their purchasing power, to bring about their all round development.
Mr. Gadkdari has a taste for everything that is modern. He initiated a process of setting up Software Technology Park in Central India. The project of reusing the sewage water for Power Generation and industrial use thereby saving clean water, speaks of his practical and modern approach.
An Empathic Communicator
A powerful orator from his college days winning several awards has evolved a into communicator where he presents issues in a very point wise logical fashion. He is perhaps the only politician who enthralls lakhs of youth telling them importance of entrepreneurship and development. Gadkari has established a record by attracting lakhs of young people to watch his presentations on the theme of development. Stadiums were overflowing with thousands of teenagers and youngsters when he made public presentations on the potential of MIHAN (Multimodal international cargo hub and airport at Nagpur) complex at various places. There was not a word of politics in any of the speeches or any appeal to instigate passions. On the other hand when he is handling all important issues like fair prices for farm produce he is very fierce and takes laks of farmers with him. The ability to address diverse issues concerning to urban youth to the farmers to the forest dwellers with same empathy and passion makes him very effective in bonding with people at large..
A firm believer in Antyodaya :
Gadkari firmly believes in the concepts of Antyodaya, Integral Humanism and trusteeship. More importantly, he has established that he can walk the talk and make his commitment to the cause of people's welfare reflect through his governance. It was under his leadership that Maharashtra BJP contributed in the Annadata Sukhi Bhava Yojana of a Voluntary Organisation and reached out to the widows of those farmers who have committed suicides. Mr. Gadkari gave top priority to constructing roads to tackle the problem of tribal malnutrition in Melghat - Dharni belt of Amaravati district and provided all- weather connectivity to the 91 remote villages of the belt. This connectivity has changed the socio-economic profile of this belt with the incidence of malnutrition coming down dramatically. It is his conviction that each position and authority must have only one objective: welfare of the public.
His Social Activities include
Adoption of 500 orphans of farmers who committed suicides due to agrarian crises in the region.
Support for over 2000 BPL families for heart operations
Providing low cost housing for workers and the poor
A Globe Trotter
As someone who believes in learning things first hand, Mr. Gadkari has traversed the globe in his quest to gain latest knowledge in varied fields in which he is active. From water utilization in Israel to water management in France, to sugar production in Brazil, to infrastructure development in China, he has visited different countries to understand the developmental processes going on in different parts of the world. He has so far visited Israel, Italy, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, United States, Canada, Brazil and Sri Lanka.
A sports enthusiast, Mr. Gadkari has particular interest in Cricket. Married to Kanchan, the couple has three children – Nikhil, Sarang and Ketaki.
Born - 27 May 1957 Nagpur, India.
Educational Qualification: - M. Com., L.L.B., D.B.M.
Positions Held in Public Sphere In Organisation :
1976-77 :Active member of ABVP and active participation in ABVP's anti-Emergency work
1977 :Coordinator for Purogami Lokashahi Aghdadi's Vidarbha region after Emergency was lifted.
1979 :Elected as Vidarbha region secretary of ABVP
1980 :Re-elected as Vidarbha region secretary of ABVP
1981 :Nagpur city unit President of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha
1985-86 :Nagpur city unit Secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party
1988-89 :General Secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party's Nagpur city unit
1989 :Elected to the Maharashtra Legislative Council from Nagpur graduate constituency.
1992-94 :General Secretary of the state unit of BJP
2004 :President of the BJP Maharashtra State unit
1995-99 :Government Cabinet Minister for Public Works Department of Maharashtra State.
1999-2004 :Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislature Council.
1995-99 :Member of the High Power Committee for Privatization, Government of Maharashtra.
1995-99 :Founder Chairman, Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation Ltd.
1995-99 :Guardian Minister for Nagpur District, Govt. of Maharashtra.
1995-99 :Chairman, Mining Policy Implementation Committee, Govt. of Maharashtra.
1995-99 :Chairman National Rural Road Development Committee, Govt. of India. Chairman, Review Committee of CPWD, Govt. of India.
1995-99 : Chairman, Metropolis Beautification Committee, Govt. of Maharashtra.