JAIPUR: Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot stirred up a political storm in the state when he reportedly made comments on President Ram Nath Kovind while speaking at a press conference on Wednesday.
Gehlot, at the conference, had claimed the BJP was indulging in caste politics and added that there is a public perception that Kovind might have been made the President because he is a Dalit. He went on to say that senior leaders like LK Advani were being neglected.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was quick to criticise him. They said Gehlot’s words were against the President who hails from a poor and Dalit background.
The saffron party added that the Congress had stooped too low and that it had violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) that in currently in effect in view of the Lok Sabha elections.
“Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s rhetoric about the country’s President is wrong. The Congress is against the President who hails from a poor and the Dalit society. Despite him being a capable and a knowledgeable person, the Congress is defaming society along with the President,” BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao said at a Press conference in Delhi.
He went on to ask the Election Commission to take action against the Congress. “We appeal to the EC to intervene in the matter and send Ashok Gehlot a notice,” Rao added.
The party then trained its guns on Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.
“In a gathering in Nanded (Maharashtra), Rahul Gandhi called all the people of the Modi community thieves! Why is the Congress worried about the Prime Minister coming from a poor backward class? Does Congress think only a family should be ruling the country and disrespect all the Dalit, backward politicians?” Rao questioned.
Later in the day, Gehlot said that he had been misquoted and iterated that he had the utmost respect for the office of the President and Kovind.
“It is very unfortunate that my comments during the PC have been misquoted by few media houses. I have the greatest regard for the President of India, and personally for Sh. Ramnath ji whom I have met in person and highly impressed with his simplicity and humbleness.” read the statement released by the CMO.
Asked about Gehlot’s remarks, Congress leader Kapil Sibal said, “We feel that people of all castes have elected Kovindji as President of India and we should respect that.” The BJP also hit out at Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.