New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday said the BJP retained power in Goa despite winning only 13 of the 40 seats in the assembly elections as the “party was working (to cobble up a majority) while the Congress leadership slept”.
“The Congress leaders told me you did a wrong thing in Goa. But I told them ‘Your leader was sleeping while we were working’,” Gadkari said at India Today’s Editors’ Roundtable Conference here.
The Road Transport and Highways Minister rejected Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s charge that Gadkari bribed Goa legislators for their support.
“I am not a person who cuts political deals. I am a man who does everything openly. I did not carry any money to anyone in Goa. I don’t do such things. I fight and get things done,” Gadkari said.
Even though the Congress emerged as the single largest party with 17 seats, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) managed to form the government in Goa with only 13 seats, leading to allegations of horse trading.
Gadkari said Sudin Dhavalikar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party met him at a Goa hotel where Sudin was staying and offered his party’s support to the BJP on the condition that he is made a minister.
“Then came Vijay Sardesai of Goa Forward Party, who has been a Congress man his entire life. But he was being tortured by the Congress for the past five years,” the Minister said.
Gadkari said Sardesai also wanted ministership, to which the BJP agreed.
Both MGP and GFP had won three seats each.
The BJP leader added that both Sardesai and Dhavalikar had another condition — (then Defence Minsiter) Manohar Parrikar be made the Chief Minister.
Gadkari said once that had been settled, the BJP turned defeat into victory while the opportunity slipped from the hands of the Congress.