Seeks to counter Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra’s “low-level politics” remark

Countering Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra’s neech rajniti (low-level politics) remark, Narendra Modi on Tuesday questioned whether belonging to a lower caste a crime and said he has ‘sold tea not the country’.

Addressing an election rally in Domariyaganj, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate said people from the lower castes have been looked down upon and made to sit “outside”.

“You can insult Modi as much as you like, you can hang him. But do not insult the lower caste... I was attacked and dubbed as a tea-seller as if I had committed a crime. Questions were raised as to how he (Mr. Modi) can run the country... I have sold tea not the country,” he said in an oblique attack on Congress over corruption.

“I had said that Rajiv Gandhi insulted Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister D. Anajaiah at the airport. The insult of Modi is okay but they said we are doing low-level politics.

“Is it a crime to be born in backward caste? Did I insult anyone despite being born in backward caste? Such a dirty blame has been put on me,” he said addressing the rally in support of party candidate Jagdambika Pal who had recently quit the Congress to join the BJP.

He also sought the intervention of the Election Commission to stop such attacks on him. “Can EC take action? I don’t know. They have their limitations (Unki majboori unhe mubarak...),” he said

Ms. Vadra had on Monday hit out at Mr. Modi saying he has insulted her “martyred” father Rajiv Gandhi during his speech in Amethi and accused Gujarat Chief Minister of indulging in “low-level” politics.

Mr. Modi said, “It is a fact that I was born in a backward caste but I can assure this country that my politics is not of low-level. I have a dream of one India, better India.”

The BJP leader said backward communities faced discrimination for centuries and are ready to face them in the coming years as well but at least “give us the right to live”.

“What is our (backward communities) crime? How dare they termed us as lowly and insult us,” he said.

“If telling truth is a crime, I am ready to face the consequences... I don’t know what kind of mental state they are living in even after 60 years of independence. I pray they get sanity,” he said.