Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday urged opposition parties to debate on the basis of manifesto and performance and claimed they were united only in disagreeing with the Bharatiya Janata Party, PTI reported.

Gadkari alleged that those leaders who would not even wish each other earlier have banded together against the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The minister asked if a “khichdi government”, made up of those lacking mutual understanding, could ensure the country’s development.

“That’s why the opposition parties who are talking about unity, they are talking about unity only in opposing BJP and Modi ji, why you don’t debate on the basis of manifesto and performance?” asked Gadkari, addressing a meeting of BJP workers in Hyderabad.

Ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Gadkari said his party would seek votes for the National Democratic Alliance government on the basis of its achievements and its future schemes for the welfare of the poor, the farmers and workers. The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways alleged that the Opposition would try to change the agenda of elections from development to casteism and communalism and false propaganda.

Expressing confidence that the NDA would come back to power, Gadkari blamed BJP’s rivals for creating a fear in the minds of Muslim minorities instead of discussing the government’s performance. “That’s why our rivals are not discussing our performance, programmes, the work of our government and implementation. Their capital is fear,” he said. “They are creating fear in the minds of Muslims.”

Gadkari alleged that the Opposition and a few sections in the media were trying to confuse the BJP’s supporters by showing statements out of context. “Remember that when the competence to convince ends, then [attempt] to confuse begins,” he said.

In a few instances, Gadkari’s remarks have been seen as an indirect jibe at Modi and the party. On January 27, Gadkari had said that governments should only make promises that could be fulfilled, claiming that citizens would otherwise beat up politicians who made them dream but failed to fulfil them. The BJP later said that Gadkari’s comment was aimed at the Congress and its chief Rahul Gandhi, and not his own party.

Gandhi on Monday praised Gadkari for being the “only one in the party with some guts” after the BJP leader advised his party workers to prioritise their families above politics. Several social media users had interpreted Gadkari’s remark as a sly reference to Modi’s decision to abandon his wife decades ago.