Nitin Gadkari retains road transport ministry

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Senior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari (File image)

New Delhi, JSenior BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, popularly referred to as the 'Highway Man of India', has been appointed the Road Transport and Highways Minister for the third consecutive term in the newly formed Union Cabinet of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government, an official statement said on Friday.

The 67-year-old leader from Nagpur in Maharashtra has been the longest serving road transport & highways minister.

Gadkari is credited with the construction of more than 54,858 km of national highways in the country in the last 10 years.

Under his leadership, the road ministry aims to complete the construction of 1,386-km Delhi-Mumbai Express by December this year.

The former BJP president -- closely associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh -- has won three consecutive times from the Nagpur seat, which houses the RSS headquarters.

On Sunday, he was inducted into the NDA government as a cabinet minister.

Gadkari's foray into national politics happened in 2009 when he was appointed the BJP president.

Since 2014, when Gadkari made his debut in the Lok Sabha polls from Nagpur and became a minister at the Centre, he has handled several portfolios like the micro, small and medium enterprises, shipping, water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation, rural development and panchayati raj.

He served as a member of the Maharashtra legislative council from the Nagpur Graduates' constituency from 1989 to 2014.

He became a state minister for the first time in 1995 and held charge of the Public Works Department (PWD).

During the period, he worked for getting all-weather roads constructed in the state and containing the problem of malnutrition in the Melghat area of Vidarbha region.

The Mumbai-Pune Expressway and 54 flyovers in the Maharashtra capital were constructed during his tenure as a state minister.

The Bandra-Worli Sea Link was also conceived during Gadkari's tenure as the PWD minister.

The greenfield expressway projects under the Bharatmala Pariyojana phase 1 in the country are under various phases of completion.