Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arun Jaitley on Friday described as preposterous the Congress Party's claim that BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had misused the caste card during the 2014 general elections.
"Congress is completely out of its depth. It is unable to digest the fact that it and the dynasty which runs it, is going to taste defeat at the hands of a commoner. It cannot accept the fact that the dynasty is going to be demolished by a person from a humble background. This Modi not an OBC issue is preposterous," said Jaitley.
"The Congress move to highlight Modi's so-called sudden claim of being attacked because of his backward caste, has backfired. That Modi belongs to the OBC is a cause of worry to the Congress. Modi's appeal cuts across castes and communities," Jaitley added.
"The Congress Party changes its issues daily. Now, it has raised the issue that the place where Narendra Modi was born. This is not acceptable that he has insulted his own caste. In 1994, it was added in the Mandal Commission list. If the Congress sees being an OBC as a sin, then I condemn it. The allegations from the Congress are a bit too late. It has a serious problem on its hands," Jaitley said further.
Jaitley was reacting to the Congress saying on Thursday that Modi doesn't belong to any backward caste.
On the contrary, the Congress claimed, Modi was born in an upper caste "Vaishya" family, with the title of Modh for being wealthy like the Modh Brahmins and Modh Banias.
His family, alleged the Congress, belonged to the "Modh Ghanchi" Vaishya sub-caste.
As evidence of Modi belonging to an upper caste, the Congress presented a Gujarat Government resolution dated January 1, 2002, which shows that Modi placed the Modh Ghanchi caste, a minority found only in Gujarat, in the Other Backward Castes (OBCs) category within four months of becoming the state's prime minister.
Former Gujarat Assembly opposition leader Shaktisinh Gohil said the Congress had obtained the Gujarat government resolution under the Right To Information Act (RTI).
"By acquiring OBC status for his selfish motives, Modi has encroached upon the right of members of OBC," said Gohil. "Modi is a man born in upper caste who is indulging in low level politics. A man's actions have nothing to do with his caste. The best example of this is Dr. B.R. Ambedkar."
Referring to Modi as a "fake OBC," Gohil also contested Modi's claim of being a tea-seller, saying his uncle ran a canteen at a state road transport office, where Modi would sit occasionally. "If what Modi says about being a tea-seller is true, then he should disclose from which larri (cart) he used to do so. There must be many persons of his age, who used to have the tea stalls in the area, who can vouch for his authenticity," said Gohil.
Asked why the Congress was revealing this information so late in the day, Gohil said he received the government resolution just a couple of days ago and that could make it public only after polling was over on Wednesday in the Abdasa assembly by-election, which he contested in Gujarat.
He explained that the Modh Ghanchis are not of the "Teli" caste like the Muslim Ghanchis of Gujarat, who enjoy the OBC status. They are "Vaishyas," said Gohil, quoting from the Gujarati lexicon 'Bhagvadgomandal' which states that Modh are rich people living in a particular village. Modh is an adjective showing prosperity status of a particular caste or community.