Nagpur: Union minister and BJP leader Nitin Gadkari on Monday said many a time when people fail to get election tickets on the basis of their work, they play "caste card" to secure nomination.
He praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi "for never invoking his caste" and listed a number of prominent politicians who rose above the identity of caste and religion to carve out a niche for themselves. The Union minister was addressing the gathering at the 'Akhil Bhartiya Mali Samaj Mahaadiveshan', organised by the Mahatma Phule Shikshan Sanstha.
Gadkari, a former BJP president, said, "When people fail to get (poll) ticket on the basis of their work (krututva), they play caste card." "I want to ask - did George Fernandes (a former Union minister and socialist stalwart) belong to any caste? He did not belong to any caste...he was a Christian. Did Indira Gandhi come to power because of caste? Did Ashok Gehlot belong to your caste? But he became Chief Minister of Rajasthan when people from other caste groups helped him," he said.
"People had told me that women should get reservation, 'I said yes they should get reservation'. But, I immediately asked them, did Indira Gandhi get reservation. For several years she ruled the country and became popular. Similarly, did Vasundhara Raje and Sushma Swaraj (BJP leaders) get reservation?" said Gadkari to buttress his argument that caste was not instrumental in success of these politicians.
Gadkari said, "In politics those who do good work, don't have to ask for votes as the votes come to them naturally." "Prime Minister Modi never talks about his caste. I really appreciate Modiji. Aaj tak Narendra Modiji ne kabhi nahi kahaan main backward community se hue (PM Modi has never said he belongs to a backward community," Gadkari said.