Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Monday seemed to suggest that party chief Amit Shah was responsible for the BJP’s poor show in the recent Assembly elections, reports said.

“If I am the party president, and my MPs and MLAs are not doing well, then who is responsible? I am,” The Times of India quoted the minister as saying at the 31st Intelligence Bureau endowment lecture in New Delhi. His remark comes days after he reportedly said the party “leadership should own up to defeat”. On Sunday though, he had accused a section of the media of quoting him out of context.

The minister told the Intelligence Bureau that “tolerance is the biggest asset” of the country and that he liked Jawaharlal Nehru’s speeches, The Indian Express reported. “I liked Nehru’s sayings,” he said. “India is not a nation but a population.” Gadkari invoked the former prime minister while saying that people should not create problems if they cannot provide solutions.

Last week, actor Naseeruddin Shah sparked a debate by voicing his worries about mob violence in the country. He had to cancel his event at the Ajmer Literature Festival after vociferous protests by Hindutva groups. On Sunday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh stepped into the debate, rejecting allegations of rising intolerance in the country. India is the most tolerant country in the world, the home minister had claimed.

Gadkari said it was good to win elections “but if we cannot bring about socioeconomic changes in the lives of people then it will not make a difference when you come to power, or go out of power”. The minister said governments will come and go but the country remains. “This country doesn’t belong to any party or individual but to 120 crore Indians,” he added.

The transport minister said a performance audit was a better tool than a financial audit for evaluating the managerial and administrative capabilities of officials, the Hindustan Times reported. He also advocated out of the box thinking to solve the country’s problems.