Zee Media Bureau
Amethi: Countering BJP`s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said people`s actions are low not their caste.
Priyanka Gandhi`s "neech rajniti" (low-level politics) barb at Modi got a caste spin with the BJP prime ministerial candidate using it to play upon his `lower caste` identity.
Hitting back at Modi, Rahul said here: "Jaati nahi, karm neech hote hain (It is not caste but ones action that are low).
"Neech soch hoti hai, gusse ki soch hoti hai, Krodh ki soch hoti hai. (It is ideology which is low. There is an ideology of anger," he said, adding his focus was that more and more people vote and women get empowered.
Smriti Irani, BJP`s candidate from Amethi, criticised Rahul Gandhi`s comment and pointed out that for BJP low thinking politics` was "usurping flats meant for widows of Kargil martyrs, treating Pakistani prime minister on Biryani after the Pakistan Army beheaded two Indian soldiers and to allow millions of tonnes of foodgrain to rot in godowns rather than distributing it to the needy and poor".
Responding to the Congress vice president`s comment, BJP MP and Hamirpur candidate Anurag Thakur said that the campaign run by both Priyanka and Rahul indicates "sign of frustration". The duo are stooping so low, said Thakur.
The Congress had accused Modi of deliberately misinterpreting facts while BSP leader Mayawati attacked him for his "despicable politics" for electoral benefit.
Rahul`s jibe at Modi comes at the time when polling is underway in 64 constituencies spread across seven states in the eighth phase of Lok Sabha polls 2014.
At a public meeting in Uttar Pradesh`s Domariyaganj, without naming anyone, Modi on Tuesday said: "You said `neech rajniti`... They are not able to come to terms with the truth, so they said it is politics of a lower class person. I cannot deny I am from a lower caste, but it is not a crime to be lower caste... I can assure the nation my politics is not low level.”
"Is it a sin to be born in a lower caste, have I done anything wrong?" he had thundered, as the crowd shouted, "No" in unison.
His comment came after Priyanka Gandhi attacked him on Monday, saying Modi had insulted her "martyred" father Rajiv Gandhi, and that the Congress booth workers in Amethi would give a befitting reply to his "low-level politics".
The Congress was quick to defend Priyanka Gandhi and said it was Modi`s habit to divert issues. "He has not misinterpreted anything, he is doing it on purpose," Congress leader Kapil Sibal said.
"...That is how Narendra Modi is. He will say something which has nothing to do with facts," he said.
At a press conference in Lucknow in the evening, Bahujan Samaj Party leader Mayawati was scathing in her criticism of Modi.
"The Congress said that he is playing low-level politics, and he tried to reap benefit out of it throughout the day today. He is doing despicable politics in the garb of this issue," said the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister.
(With IANS inputs)