Panaji: Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Sunday accused the BJP's political rivals of trying to "communalise" society, saying his party never believed in discrimination on the basis of religion.
"There are some political leaders who live on fear...Image versus reality. We have been accused of anti-minority by political rivals who want to communalise the society. BJP will never discriminate on religion, caste and sex. We are taking everyone along with us while ruling the country," Gadkari said.
He was addressing a reception hosted for Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on his 60th birthday here, which was attended by more than 30,000 people.
In a veiled reference to China and Pakistan, Gadkari said,"....There are so many neighbouring countries which are prospering. They are just aiming to grab land of others. We are tolerant persons. We don't want to invade neighbours, but that doesn't mean we will tolerate anyone trying to create trouble for us. We have said that we want peace...The same peace that Mahatma Gandhi spoke about".
Gadkari said only the strong and efficient power can give peaceful governance in the country.
Hailing Parrikar, Gadkari said the former is following politics as an "instrument for bringing socio-political reforms".
"He (Parrikar) has maintained the same profile in public life right from the day he entered politics till date," said Gadkari.
On the occasion, he proposed a special gallery depicting the history of Goa's liberation on an upcoming bridge on Zuari river here.
"The proposed Zuari bridge should have a gallery displaying the liberation history of Goa for which my ministry will sanction the required amount.
"In next five years, roads worth Rs 5 lakh crore would be constructed across the coastal state, of which one per cent would be mandatorily used for plantation and beautification,"
the Highways and Road Transport Minister said, adding that the foundation stone for the bridge would be laid shortly.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar were
also present on the dais.
Naik said the growth of BJP in Goa was parallel to Parrikar's rise in politics.
"Parrikar has provided the best governance during his tenure in Goa. People always remember him as a person with vision," he said.
Parsekar said that Parrikar has been constantly in touch with the happenings in Goa despite being in Delhi.
PWD Minister Ramakrishna Dhavalikar said that Parrikar proved as a "visionary" for the state working for the welfare of people. "He taught us how to rule the state despite difficult financial situation," he added.