- Mayawati said PM Modi was not "born in a backward caste"
- PM's caste was added during his term as Gujarat chief minister: Mayawati
- People didn't know my caste till my detractors abused me," PM had said
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Saturday hit back at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claiming that he included his caste in the list Other Backward Class (OBC) communities for political gains. The comments came soon after PM Modi accused the opposition of thinking of him as a neech (lowly) person.
Accusing PM Modi of including his caste in the list of backwards during his term as the Gujarat chief minister, Mayawati said at a press conference in Lucknow, "In order to derive political profits during elections, he (PM Modi) got his upper caste included in the list of backward castes. Like Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav, (PM) Modi was not born in a backward caste."
"Today, at Kannauj, he (PM Modi) said Behenji and Akhilesh (Yadav) think of him as a neech (lowly) person as he comes from a backward caste. Their (BJP's) Dalit-backward card is not working anymore," the former Uttar Pradesh chief said.
Addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh's Kannauj, PM Modi had said, "This country didn't know my caste till my detractors abused me...I am thankful to Mayawatiji, Akhileshji, Congress people and the 'mahamilavatis' that they are discussing my caste...I believe that taking birth in a backward caste is an opportunity to serve the country."
The Prime Minister also requested rival politicians to not drag him into caste politics. "I tell you with folded hands, I want no part in this. The 130 crore people of this country are my family," he declared.
He accused Mayawati of betraying her ideology by allying with "those opposed" to Dalit ideologue and social reformer BR Ambedkar.
At another rally in Hardoi, PM Modi dismissed the grand alliance of Mayawati and Akhilesh Yadav as an arrangement of convenience between "opportunists" who intend to steal the people's wealth by playing the caste card.
"Some people who seek votes in the name of Babasaheb Ambedkar have never learnt anything from his life. Mayawati is seeking votes for those who oppose Babasaheb Ambedkar. This happens when your only goal is to get the chair. This happens when your politics is based on caste, and when you do not care about the country. This alliance of opportunists wants a helpless government because its mantra is jaat-paat japna, janta ka maal apna (Chant on about caste, loot the people's money)," PM Modi had said.
The Samajwadi Party is contesting from 37 seats and the BSP 38 under the grand alliance's seat-sharing agreement. Three seats - Mathura, Muzaffarpur and Baghpat - have been left for the Rashtriya Lok Dal.
Hardoi and Kannauj vote tomorrow, in the fourth phase of the national election. The results will be declared on May 23.
(With inputs from PTI)