Last Updated: Tuesday, May 06, 2014, 15:54
Zee Media Bureau/Ajith Vijay Kumar
Domariyaganj, UP: With the BJP facing tough fights in the remaining constituencies in UP and Bihar, Narendra Modi played up his caste identity by asserting that in a democracy every one has the right to be the prime minister.
Speaking at a rally in Domariyaganj in UP, Tuesday, Modi said, “We are born in lower castes. Is it a crime?”
“Forget a tea seller, in a democracy every one has the right to be the prime minister. First they called me a tea seller. As if it was a crime that I sold tea. They asked if a tea seller will run the nation.”
“Just because we belong to the lower strata does it mean we can be abused like this,” he added.
“Those living in palaces must realize that its due to the hard work of lower caste people like us that they are living comfortably,” he said.
“We don't want anything...just want a right to live with dignity. What is the crime we have committed?,” Modi said.
Playing to the gallery, Modi said, “You want to hang me hang me but do not insult my fellow Indians who were born in lower castes.”
However, Modi was also careful to keep his focus on his poll mantra of development. “Country has moved beyond caste and communal politics. Youth want development,” he said.
He also hit out at the Election Commission saying, “Don't know if Election Comision has the courage to act against such constant statements which are being used against me.”
Modi was apparently referring to the harsh words used against him by political leaders like Azam Khan and Beni Prasad Verma. The Trinamool Congress had also called him “Butcher of Gujarat”.
However, the fact remains that the BJP faces tough fights in the remaining seats of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar that will vote tomorrow and on May 12.
The main challenger in eastern Uttar Pradesh is Bahujan Samaj Party with Mayawati having gone all out to prevent erosion of her core Dalit vote bank. In her attempt to prevent a Hindu vote consolidation, she even told Dalits who attended her rallies that they are not Hindus.
Modi's lower caste poll pitch looks aimed at countering Mayawati.
In Bihar, the BJP is feeling the heat given the rising popularity of Lalu Prasad Yadav. The Muslims and the Yadavs are said to be solidly behind the RJD, giving enough reasons for Modi to harp on his caste identity to ensure that all other lower castes and sub-castes rally behind him in the effort to win big in the 40 seats in the state.
Yesterday, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had attacked Modi for “insulting” her father Rajiv Gandhi. She accused Modi of indulging in 'low-level' politics and claimed that people of Amethi will never forgive him.
Modi had tweeted his reply to Priyanka earlier today.
“I belong to the socially lower strata, that's why they dub my politics as low-level.”
“It may be possible that some people can't see it, but the sacrifice, martyrdom and of people belonging to lower castes have played a key role in taking the country to great heights.”
“It is this 'low-level' of politics that will free India of the 60 years of mis-governance and vote bak politics and wipe the tears of millions of Indians.”
“It is this low-level of politics that has the power to ensure that 'Bharat Maa' emerges as a prosperous and powerful country in the world.”
Yesterday, while addressing a rally in support of BJP's Amethi candidate Smriti Irani, Modi had accused Congress of practising politics of 'arrogance' and said Rajiv Gandhi, when he was Congress General Secretary, had once publicly 'abused' and 'humiliated' the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister T Anjaiah - CM between 1980 and 1982.
He then raked up the unceremonious removal of Sitaram Kesri as the Congress President in 1998 as "Madam Sonia Gandhi" was angry against him and wanted to take over the reins of the party.
Modi also mentioned the treatment meted out by Sonia Gandhi to former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao, saying "when he passed away, he was treated like Bahadur Shah Zafar and denied even a small piece of land for his cremation in Delhi."
At the same time, Modi raked up the Ordinance on convicted lawmakers passed by the Cabinet which Rahul had publicly denounced as nonsense at a time when PM was visiting US.
Shortly after Narendra Modi finished his address in Amethi, Priyanka said, "Inhone Amethi ki dharti pe mere shaheed pitaa ka apmaan kiya hai. Amethi ki janta is harkat ko kabhi maaf nahi karegi. Inki neech rajniti ka jawaab mere booth ke karyakartaa denge. Amethi ke ek ek booth se jawaab aayega." (The BJP has shown disrespect to my martyred father in Amethi. The people of Amethi will never forgive this insult. My workers will respond to their low-level of politics. The answer will be there for all to see from every single booth in Amethi.)
First Published: Tuesday, May 06, 2014, 10:29