Cong raising Modi’s caste issue to divert attention: BJP

New Delhi: BJP today accused Congress of indulging in “low-level” politics by raising the issue of caste of Narendra Modi only to divert the attention of people from core issues of governance and development.

The opposition party also asked Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi whether the leaders raising Modi’s caste issue were indulging in “neech karam” (lowly deeds) as stated by him that there is no “neech jaati” (low caste) but only lowly deeds.

BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said Modi’s Modh- Ghanchi caste was included in OBC category on July 25, 1994 during Congress rule in Gujarat when Chhabildas Mehta was Chief Minister and Shaktisinh Gohil was a minister in his cabinet.

He said that on April 4, 2000, the government of India included the caste in OBC category as one of the 146 castes when Modi was not even a Chief Minister, minister or even an MP.

“It shows the tendency of the Congress leader to indulge in low-level politics. The issue of Narendra Modi’s caste raised by Congress is not based on facts…Such low-level politics is being played in despair, despondency and aggression to divert the attention of people from the core issues,” he said.

Trivedi said Congress had first raised the issue of Modi’s personal life, then “bogies” of communalism and now they have touched his caste.

“We want to question Rahul Gandhi if the Congress leaders, who are raising Modi’s caste issue, are indulging in ‘neech karam’ (lowly deeds) as he had himself said there is no ‘neech jaati’ but people only do ‘neech karam’,” Trivedi said.

He also accused Congress of getting the caste issue raised from its allies as it was BSP leader Mayawati who had first raised the issue and now Congress leaders are following suit.

Gohil had yesterday claimed Modi was a “fake” OBC in a bid to exploit the OBC votes, saying he belongs to rich and prosperous Modh Ghanchis who were never given any kind of reservation nor were included in OBCs before Modi became CM. Trivedi also said BJP has refrained from raising how people in the Nehru family turned Gandhi.

“We have never raised the issue of how the first family of Congress turned Gandhis from Nehru family,” he said.

The BJP leader alleged such attempts by Congress to raise Modi’s caste issue is only meant to prevent the development issue in Gujarat from being highlighted, as has come out in the latest report of the Commerce Ministry as well as other government reports in the past.

“They are raising the caste issue only to divert the attention of the public from the issues of development and governance. We are not going to be bothered by Congress’ attempts, which they are doing only for their own political gains at this last moment,” he said.

Trivedi said BJP does not try to use the caste issue for political gains as Congress was doing and reminded that it was Congress leader Manishankar Aiyar who had first raised the issue of Modi being a tea-seller and he could open up a stall to sell tea at Congress’ congregation in Delhi’s Talkatora Stadium.

Congress today again stuck to its stand that Narendra Modi is a “fake” OBC, rejecting Gujarat government’s claim a two-decade old notification had brought the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Modh-Ghanchi caste in the OBC category.

“Whatever Congress spokesman Shaktisinh Gohil said yesterday is absolutely correct because the notification was issued by the Gujarat Government on Jan 1, 2002 when Modi was the Chief Minister”, Congress leader Ajay Maken said, expressing surprise that the notification of the Centre on the OBC category to Modh Ghanchi community came just six months before Modi became Chief Minister.

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