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Modi seeks votes in the name of country

Facing flak from his rivals over referring to his caste in his election rallies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that he never indulged in the politics of caste though he hailed from a backward caste.

Facing flak from his rivals over referring to his caste in his election rallies, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that he never indulged in the politics of caste though he hailed from a backward caste.

"I am not seeking votes in the name of caste... I live for the country and so I am seeking votes for the country," Modi said while addressing an election rally in Ballia, about 400 kilometres from here.

The prime minister sought to strike an emotional chord with the people by saying that he too was a "rebel" and came from a poor family.

"I'm also a rebel... I have rebelled against poverty... I have witnessed poverty," Modi said. He said that he would succeed in his fight against poverty as he had experienced it.

The prime minister said that there was a competition of sort among his rivals for "abusing" him.

"These mahamilavati (rivals) people have nothing else to do... They simply abuse me," he added.

Modi also said that unlike his rivals, he did not "amass" wealth.

"I do not have palatial houses and bungalows," he remarked.

Once again raking up the Balakot air strikes, the prime minister said that the country needed a "strong" government at the Centre that could effectively tackle terrorism and instil fear in the minds of terrorists.

Polling at Ballia would be held in the last phase of elections on May 19.

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