Gujarat BJP leaders reject Rahul Gandhi’s charges on PM’s OBC status

The Congress leader claims that the PM’s Teli caste was only brought under OBC category in 2000, when the BJP was in power; BJP leaders say the PM’s caste was included in OBC list way back in 1994

February 08, 2024 11:05 pm | Updated February 09, 2024 07:15 am IST - AHMEDABAD

Gujarat Rajya Sabha MP Narhari Amin with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo: X/@narhari_amin

Gujarat Rajya Sabha MP Narhari Amin with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo: X/@narhari_amin

Former Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat and current Rajya Sabha member Narhari Amin on Thursday refuted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not born into a caste belonging to the the Other Backward Classes (OBC), and that his caste was actually brought under the OBC category in 2000, during the BJP regime. 

Mr. Amin, who was a deputy CM in the last Congress government in Gujarat, left the party in 2012, and is now a BJP MP. He termed Mr. Gandhi’s allegations “baseless” and “unfounded”.

“[The PM] was born a Teli, which was in the general category, and it was during the BJP rule that it was included in the OBC category in 2000,” the former Congress chief said in Odisha during his ongoing Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. Later in Chhattisgarh, he revised his allegation to say that Mr. Modi was a ‘Modh Ghanchi’.

His allegations triggered sharp reactions from the BJP at a time when the ruling party and Mr. Modi have been projecting the PM as the biggest OBC leader in the country. 

‘Insulting OBCs’

“I was serving as the Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat in the Congress government when the government of Gujarat notified Modh-Ghanchi as OBC on 25th July 1994. This is the same caste our respected Prime Minister Narendra Modi belongs to. Rahul Gandhi is insulting the OBC communities by cooking up mindless lies on this issue. This decision, and the subsequent Government of India notification, came when Narendra Modi was not even MP or MLA, forget being CM,” Mr. Amin said, in a series of posts on X.

“I demand Rahul Gandhi to immediately withdraw his lies. He should stop defaming OBCs and also apologise to the people of Gujarat for being filled with hate towards our popular Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he added. 

Caste marked OBC pre-Modi

Another Gujarat BJP leader, Purnesh Modi, who had filed a criminal defamation case against Mr. Gandhi for his remarks on the Modi surname, also rejected the charges and said that the Congress leader’s remarks were “insulting to OBCs”. 

“We condemn this statement of Rahul Gandhi... Congress is used to doing vote bank and appeasement politics... Rahul Gandhi is frustrated... He insulted the OBC community and called them ‘Chor’...  On July 25, 1994, during Congress rule, the Gujarat government gave a circular. It is a lie that the ‘Teli’ community was included in the OBC category in 2000... They were included in the OBC category in 1994 during the Congress rule... When PM Modi was the CM of Gujarat, he had nothing to do with including the ‘Teli’ community in OBC...” former Gujarat Minister Purnesh Modi told media persons in Gandhinagar on Thursday. 

According to sources in the State government, in July 1994, during the Congress rule led by Chhabildas Mehta, the Gujarat government had issued a resolution while adding the Ghanchi community in the State to the list of Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBCs), which forms the OBC castes in the State. 

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