Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot Sunday slammed the BJP over its charge that Rahul Gandhi insulted OBCs with his remark in 2019, and said his party has done a lot for backward classes which include making an OBC leader like him CM thrice.
Gandhi was on Thursday sentenced to two years in jail by a Surat court in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his "why all thieves have Modi surname" remark. Several BJP leaders, including party chief J P Nadda, have accused Gandhi of insulting Other Backward Classes (OBCs) through his remark.
Addressing a gathering at the daylong "Sankalp Satyagraha" of the Congress at the Rajghat, Gehlot said Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted an "experiment" in Gujarat polls in 2017 by saying that a Congress leader abused him about his caste.
And in a repeat of that, the BJP is claiming again before elections that Rahul Gandhi insulted OBCs, Gehlot said. "In 2017, when the BJP was losing the Gujarat elections, Modi ji played the OBC card against the Congress there. The BJP today again wants to run a campaign to mislead the OBCs," he alleged.
Are fugitives like Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi OBCs, he asked. "You are protecting fugitives such as Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi, and then saying Rahul Gandhi insulted OBCs," he said. Gehlot said can anyone forget what the Congress has done for OBCs and SCs and STs.
"I have been made CM for the third time by Sonia ji, Rahul ji. I am an OBC. There is only one member of OBC Mali community (in the assembly) and that is me," he said. Gehlot said what "bigger message" could be for the OBCs there than him being made chief minister again and again. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is also comes from the OBC community, he pointed out.
Elections are coming and that is why they are raising this bogey of OBC insult, he alleged. "It is baseless." He said the sacrifices of the Gandhi family are before everyone and Rahul Gandhi is constantly raising the issue of unemployment and high prices.
"They could not answer on allegations raised in Parliament by Rahul Gandhi. I have never seen before that allegations are raised but instead of answering, the prime minister has taken a vow of silence," Gehlot said.
The BJP raised allegations against Gandhi for his remarks abroad, when he said what he had been saying in the country, he said. It is the PM who should answer and apologise, Gehlot said. "Rahul Gandhi has emerged as the voice of the country. We will keep fighting to ensure that democracy is kept alive in the country," he said.