Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari. (PTI file)
Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said in Lok Sabha on Monday that he had suffered a road accident in Maharashtra as his driver had impaired vision due to cataract in one eye and that a chief minister once told him that his driver was "blind in both eyes". Piloting the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Gadkari's remarks were aimed at highlighting how many drivers employed with different governments are not medically fit, though they evoked laughter among the amused members.
Asked by an MP as to how the chief minister's driver functioned when he was "blind" in both eyes, Gadkari said he did so by hearing the sounds around him and cited the stuntmen who ride bikes blindfolded.
The minister, however, might have meant that the driver had impaired vision in both his eyes. He used the Hindi word 'andha' (blind) to describe it.
He did not name the chief minister. A ministerial colleague also told him that his driver had impaired vision in one eye, Gadkari added.
Gadkari, then the leader of the opposition in Maharashtra legislative council, and his family members had met a serious accident in 2001 when their car rammed into a stationary truck at night.
He said in Lok Sabha that he later got to know that his driver had cataract in one eye and that many government drivers have a similar condition.