Nitin Jairam Gadkari is an Indian politician and businessman from Maharashtra who is the current Minister for Road Transport & Highways and the Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the Government of India. Gadkari earlier served as the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from 2009 to 2013. He is also known for his work as the Public Works Department Minister of the State of Maharashtra, where, under his leadership, a series of roads, highways and flyovers across the state were constructed – including the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, India's first six-lane concrete, high-speed expressway. Gadkari is closely associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is headquartered in his home constituency of Nagpur. He currently represents the Nagpur constituency in the Lok Sabha, and is a lawyer and industrialist by occupation.
Early life and education
Nitin Gadkari was born into a Marathi family in Nagpur, India to Jairam Gadkari and Bhanutai Gadkari. During his adolescence, he worked for the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and the student union Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. He completed M.Com. and L.L.B. from Nagpur University.
Nitin Gadkari served as the Minister of Public Works Department (PWD) of the Government of Maharashtra from 1995 to 1999 and restructured it from top to bottom. He has served as the president of the Maharashtra BJP.
Gadkari strongly supported privatisation while he campaigned for investments in infrastructure from private firms. He addressed several meetings between private investors, contractors, builders and various trade organisations and diverted large amounts of budgeted projects towards privatisation. Subsequently, the state government allocated Rs. 7 billion for rural connectivity. Over the next four years, all-weather road connectivity in Maharashtra was extended to 98% of the population. The project aimed to connect 13,736 remote villages which remained unconnected since independence by road. It also helped ameliorate malnutrition in remote Melghat-Dharni area of Amravati district, which previously had no access to medical aid, ration or educational facilities.
The Union Government appointed him as the Chairman of National Rural Road Development Committee. After a series of meetings and studies, Gadkari submitted his report to the central government and gave the presentation to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then Prime Minister of India. His new report was accepted and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, an ambitious rural road connecting scheme worth ₹600 billion, was launched.
Just before the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly Elections, Election Commission of India on 6 October 2014 issued a show cause notice to Gadkari for "statements to the effect of inducing the voters to take bribe" during campaigning in Maharashtra assembly polls. According to the English translation of the speech made by the former BJP president in Marathi, he had allegedly said: "Now, I am watching your faces and I have some skill of predicting the future by way of face reading. You have an opportunity of "Laxmi darshan" in next 10 days. Special people to get foreign made, ordinary people to get local brand. All are Gandhivadis asking for ₹5000. In these days of inflation, keep one thing in mind, eat what you wish and drink what you desire. Keep whatever you get. This is the time when illegally earned money can go to poor. Therefore, do not say no to Laxmi. But think while you vote. Your vote should be for the development of Maharashtra." The Election Commission said his statement amounts to "abetting and promoting the electoral offence of bribery" within the meaning of Section 171 B read with Section 17l E of the IPC as it includes offering food, drink or entertainment.
Nitin Gadkari is married to Kanchan Gadkari and they have three children, Nikhil, Sarang and Ketki. His eldest son Nikhil is married to Rutuja Pathak and Sarang Gadkari is married to Madhura Rodi. Gadkari family follows a vegetarian diet.