Nagpur: Union minister Nitin Gadkari has said sometimes when people fail to get tickets to contest polls on the basis of their work, they play the "caste card".
Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi "for never invoking his caste", he cited examples of a number of prominent politicians who rose above the caste and religious identity to carve out a niche for themselves.
"When people fail to get (poll) ticket on the basis of their work (krututva), they play caste card," the former BJP president said addressing a gathering here on Monday at the 'Akhil Bhartiya Mali Samaj Mahaadiveshan', organised by the Mahatma Phule Shikshan Sanstha.
"I want to ask - did George Fernandes (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?" he said. Did Ashok Gehlot belong to your caste? But he became the chief minister of Rajasthan when people from other caste groups helped him, he pointed out.
"People 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," he said. Similarly, did Vasundhara Raje and Sushma Swaraj (BJP leaders) get reservation? the minister said to support his argument that caste was not instrumental in the success of these politicians.
"In politics those who do good work, don't have to ask for votes as the votes come to them naturally," he said. "Prime Minister Modi never talks about his caste.
I really appreciate Modiji. Aaj tak Narendra Modiji ne kabhi nahi kahaa main backward community se hun (PM Modi has never said he belongs to a backward community)," he said.