Gadkari claims media "twisted" remarks says Modi to lead BJP in Lok Sabha polls

(Eds: Updates with fresh quotes)
    Pune, Dec 23 (PTI) Union minister Nitin Gadkari Sunday said the BJP is going to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha election under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and accused the media of "twisting" certain remarks he made at
an event in Pune.
    Clarifying that he is not in any "race" or "competition", the Union Transport Minister said the BJP will get "reasonable" majority in the next general elections.
    Gadkari's assertion came in the backdrop of his "leadership should own up defeat" remarks made Saturday, days after the BJP's defeat in the just-held assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.
    The BJP stalwart had said nobody is willing to own up to failure unlike success and maintained "leadership should have the 'vrutti' (tendency) to own up defeat and failures".
    "Success has many fathers but failure is an orphan, as when there is success, there will be a race to take credit but in case of failure, everybody will start pointing fingers at each other," he had said.
    Talking to reporters here Sunday, the BJP asserted his remarks had no political overtones and claimed a section of the media "twisted" his comments made at a programme organised by the Pune District Urban Cooperative Banks Association.
    "My entire speech in Marathi is available. Whatever I said was in the context of banking and I neither referred it to any election nor any political leader.
    "But unfortunately, a section of media twisted my statement by linking it to the current electoral politics by adding up their own comment," he said.
    He said if journalists have their own agenda, they are free to write under their own name.
    "But things I did not say, it is not good to connect it to my statement," said Gadkari.
    Asked about a letter written by Maharashtra-based farm activist Kishor Tiwari to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, reportedly suggesting a change in BJP leadership if the party wants to win the 2019 polls, the Union minister said in a democracy everybody has a right to put forth his opinion.
    "If someone is writing something, how am I related to it?" questioned Gadkari, a former BJP president.
     Gadkari asserted he is not in any "race" or "competition".
    "It is very clear the BJP will contest 2019 general elections under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the party will get reasonable majority," he said.
    Earlier in the day, the BJP leader took to the micro-blogging site Twitter to claim some opposition parties and a section of the media had "twisted" his statements.
    "In the last few days, I have noticed a sinister campaign by some opposition parties and a section of the media to twist my statements and use them out of context and draw politically motivated inferences to malign my party and me," he said.
    "I have time and again strongly refuted such insinuations and once again condemn all these malafide and mischievous out of context reports attributed to me.
    "Let me make it clear once and for all that conspiracies to create a wedge between the BJP leadership and me will never succeed," Gadkari tweeted. PTI SPK VT RSY TVS