Narendra Modi is a "fake OBC", the Congress today claimed seeking to puncture the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate's attack on Priyanka Gandhi over her "neech rajniti" barbs and demanded an apology from him.
In remarks that could fuel fresh controversy, Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil also alleged that Modi was never a tea vendor but had only whiled away time at a canteen, where his relative was the contractor, and whose "license was cancelled over sale of 'charas'".
"This is also a big lie that he used to sell tea. One of the relatives of Modi was the canteen's contractor where he (Modi) used to go for time-pass. A retired DySP has told me that the contract of that canteen was cancelled as charas was being sold there," Gohil said at a press conference.
The Congress leader hastened to add that he had no proof of this right now and hence was "not levelling any allegation", and said he had filed an RTI application to ascertain the facts.
On Modi playing the caste card to counter Priyanka's "neech rajniti" barbs, saying Congress was targeting his lower caste origin, Gohil, who was a former CLP leader of Gujarat, released a copy of a Gujarat government circular to claim that Modi "manipulated" to bring his 'Modh Ghanchi' caste into the OBC list after he became Chief Minister of the state.
"Of late, Gujarat chief minister has been indulging in a low level of political gimmickry. He has been desperately trying to invoke his OBC status and garner sympathy. Modi does not belong to Other Backward Communities (OBC) as he has been claiming to exploit OBC votes.
"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. In the way encounters were fake in Gujarat, Modi is also a fake OBC," Gohil said.
Quoting from Gujarati lexicon 'Bhagvadgomandal', the Congress leader said that Modh are rich people living in a particular village and Ghanchis belong to the prosperous trading class.
"Modi has been making loud claims of whether it is a sin to be of this particular caste? It is not a crime to be of any caste or community. But it definitely is a crime to put an upper caste in OBC category and then cry discrimination," Gohil said.
Giving details of the alleged "subtle manipulation", Gohil said that 'Ghanchis', who were Muslims, were among OBCs, but not prosperous, 'Modh Ghanchis', to which Modi belongs, were never given any kind of reservations nor were included in the OBC by any commission before Modi became the CM.
He said that Modi became Chief Minister of Gujarat in September 2001, and a circular was issued on January 1, 2002, by Gujarat government declaring 'Modh Ghanchis' as OBCs.
"By acquiring OBC status for his selfish motives, Modi has in fact encroached upon the right of members of OBC. Modi is a man born in upper caste and is indulging in low-level politics," Gohil claimed.
The Congress' disclosure has come at a time when the final phase of the Lok Sabha polling is to be held, especially in constituencies that include Varanasi, from where Modi is contesting, and other seats in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar which form the cradle of OBC politics.
"Modi should speak the truth and tell the nation why he committed a sin of snatching the rights of OBCs, as by including an upper caste in OBC list, he damaged them as the upper caste 'Modh Ghanchis' started cornering away the benefits available to OBC.
"The Gujarat Chief Minister should apologise to the backward castes for insulting them. Modi has committed the sin of putting 'Modh Ghanchis' in the OBC list. He himself engages in low level politics and when somebody raises a voice against it, he tries to project it as an insult to backward communities," he said.
Gohil was asked about the UPA government's move to include Jats in the OBC list before the elections to which he said that it was a long standing demand from the community unlike in the case of 'Modh Ghanchis' where there was no such demand.