Union minister Nitin Gadkari on Friday denied that he is in the race to become prime minister, and said Narendra Modi will be elected to the post again this year. Speaking at the India Today Conclave in New Delhi, the transport minister said he is an Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh man.

“Don’t talk about me becoming prime minister. Narendra Modi is the prime minister and will be the PM even after the elections,” Gadkari said. “I am a worker, service to the nation is my mission. We are all behind him [PM Modi]. I am another worker in the fulfilment of his vision. Where does the question of me being a PM arise?”

Gadkari said his positive attitude has made him popular. “When people come to me, my mindset is always positive,” the minister said. “I tell my officials if people have come to us, they must have a problem. First, you should treat them nicely, then work to resolve their problem, and if you can’t, tell them honestly.”

The minister said his attitude has helped his relationship with the Opposition. “I do not act with any political calculations in my mind,” Gadkari said. “This is how the opposition also becomes my friend. It just comes naturally to me.”

Over the past few months, Gadkari has made remarks that have come across as criticism of the Narendra Modi-led government.