Govt Rebuts Rahul Gandhi's Allegations on PM Modi's Caste Identity
| IOP Desk - 08 Feb 2024

Congress MP's Claim Sparks Controversy Amidst Caste Census Debate

IOP News Desk

New Delhi, February 8, 2024- In a heated exchange between the government and the opposition, Rahul Gandhi's recent remarks questioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi's caste identity have ignited a fresh controversy.

The Congress Lok Sabha MP, currently on his 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' in Odisha, accused PM Modi of falsely presenting himself as a member of the Other Backward Class (OBC) community. Gandhi claimed that Modi hails from the Ghanchi caste, which was incorporated into the OBC list during the BJP's tenure in Gujarat.

Responding quickly, the government issued a comprehensive rejoinder titled "facts regarding Rahul Gandhi's statement on PM's caste." It emphasized that the Modh Ghanchi caste, to which PM Modi belongs, has long been recognized as socially and educationally backward, and has been included in both the Gujarat state government's and the Indian government's OBC lists. The notification to include this sub-group in the OBC list was issued during periods when the Congress held power in Gujarat and at the central level, respectively, the government clarified.

The timing of Gandhi's accusation coincides with the ongoing debate over a nationwide caste census, a topic that has historically divided the ruling BJP and the opposition.

The recent revelation from Bihar's caste survey, confirming the substantial presence of OBC and Extremely Backward Classes (EBC) in the state, has intensified calls for a comprehensive caste census. Gandhi reiterated his commitment to conducting such a census and removing the 50% cap on reservations if the Congress secures victory in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

In response to Gandhi's jabs, Prime Minister Modi, during a session in the Rajya Sabha, referenced former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's reservations about reservations.

Modi accused Nehru of hindering recruitment under the reservation policy, suggesting a long-standing aversion within the Congress towards affirmative action for marginalized communities.

He countered Gandhi's claims by asserting that his government has consistently prioritized the welfare of SC, ST, and OBC communities, emphasizing their prominent role as beneficiaries of government schemes.

The exchange between the government and the opposition stresses the deep-seated political tensions surrounding caste dynamics in India, as both sides seek to consolidate support ahead of the impending elections.

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