On a day Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi attacked BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi saying the Gujarat model had benefited only one industrialist in the State, party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that Mr. Modi harboured a “bias” towards Dalits.

This came shortly after Mr. Modi, at an election rally, accused Mr. Gandhi of “insulting the chief architect of the Constitution and the god of Dalits by taking credit for giving rights and enacting laws in the country.”

Addressing the media here on Monday, Mr. Surjewala recalled that Mr. Modi’s book, ‘Karamyog’ (published in November 2007) was very revealing on this subject.

He said that on pages 48 and 49, while talking of the Valmiki community, who are traditionally sweepers, he had written, “I do not believe that they [Valmikis] have been doing this job to sustain their livelihood. Had this been so, they would not have continued with this type of work generation after generation. At some point of time, somebody must have got the enlightenment that it is their [Valmikis’] duty to work for the happiness of the entire society and the gods; that they would have to do this job bestowed upon them by gods; and that this job of cleaning up could continue as an unintentional spiritual activity for centuries... It is impossible to believe that their ancestors did not have the choice of adopting any other work or job.”

Mr. Surjewala added that 5,000 copies of the 101-page book were printed by the Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation.

The Congress spokesperson, referring to another instance, said that on April 30, 2010, at a function to release his book ‘Samajik Samrasta’, Mr. Modi drew parallels between “mentally retarded children” and “Dalits”, saying that just as people give special treatment to “mentally retarded children” when they visit their homes, so should they when they meet “Dalits.”

Mr. Surjewala also cited instances that demonstrate that he had denied the community what the state had set aside for them.

He said that for the last 10 years, Mr. Modi had not held a single meeting for the implementation of the Scheduled Caste Sub Plan (SCSP) as also Scheduled Tribe Sub Plan (STSP), even though the Planning Commission had mandated that such meetings should take place, after the States collectively decided to do so at a National Development Council meeting.

Backlog of vacancies

Mr. Surjewala added that Gujarat currently had a backlog of 27,900 vacancies for the SCs and the STs.

More In: National | News | Delhi