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Modi woos backward castes, says he's a victim of untouchability

Author: Sumit Pande, CNN-IBN
Publication: IBNLive.com
Date: February 9, 2014
URL: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/modi-woos-backward-castes-says-hes-a-victim-of-untouchability/450942-81.html

BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Sunday tried to woo Dalits and other backward castes in Kerala and hit out at the UPA for considering Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission report suggesting reservation for minorities.

While addressing a meeting of backward castes in Kerala, Modi invoked Dr BR Ambedkar several times in his speech. The meeting was also attended by the leader of the Ezhava community.

Modi said, "Only Dr BR Ambedkar can take back what he has given us. The UPA is playing vote bank politics by implementing the Ranganath Committee. In the next 100 days the present government will be history and the new government will revive the country from people who farm poision through their politics."

Modi once again evoked 'zeher ki kheti' (fields of poison) comment. He said, "The people who practice vote bank politics are the ones how are farming poison in this country." He said the Justice Ranganath Commission was used as an instrument to sow the seeds of poison.

He added, "Vote bank politics has pitched communities against each other. There are people who have been practicing this for the last 60 years to protect their seats."

On a visit to Karnataka last week, UPA Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi had launched an attack on the opposition BJP accusing it of indulging in zeher ki kheti (sowing seeds of poison) to attain power.

In an apparent dig at the Nehru-Gandhi family, Modi said those who are running the country for 60 years think all "good deeds" have been done by one family and "no one else."

"I have done nothing for the family where I was born since I became the Chief Minister," he said adding that he would do a lot of things for his "extended family" if given a chance to rule at the Centre.

Modi also promised that after coming to power at the Centre, he would like to do something for his "family", pointing towards the crowd at a meeting of Dalit forum.

Invoking Dr BR Ambedkar, Pandit Karupan and Jyotiba Phule among others, Modi said history of the last century shows that most reformers were from backward communities or were Dalits who spent their lives in the service of the downtrodden.

Terming himself as a "victim of untouchability", he said the city mayor did not attend a programme though his name was among those invited on the invitation card.

He said the BJP has sent two people - one from the Dalit community and other, a fisherman - to Rajya Sabha from Gujarat in the just-held elections.

Modi claimed that the government at the Centre has not taken steps it should have for the benefits of Dalits. "I think it is in my destiny to do that now," he said adding that the government at the Centre will change in the next 100 days.

(With additional information from PTI)
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