Nitin Gadkari, former BJP president, reiterated his disapproval of the proposal to scrap toll collection in an interaction with journalists here on Sunday. This after senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde promised a toll-free Maharashtra if the party came to power.

“In the Build-Operate-Transfer model, tolls are important to recover costs. The privatisation model of tendering projects will not work otherwise,” said Mr. Gadkari who has been at loggerheads with Mr. Munde on various issues.

“You should ask Mr. Munde how he plans to do away with tolls,” he said adding that there was a need for transparency in toll collection.

He supported the argument put forward by private road contactors. Mr. Gadkari said though traffic movement increased by an estimated eight to nine per cent in the past 10 years, economic slump reduced it to 5 per cent, causing huge losses for contractors.

On the BJP prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi’s stand on minorities, he said, “Mr. Modi fits into the secular framework. None of his policies in Gujarat has hurt Muslims.” He said Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh witnessed more riots and police encounters than Gujarat.