Nobody is born in backward caste: Paswan

“They are making so much hue and cry over Modiji's caste. We all know how Modi was abused in Gujarat for his belonging to the Ghanchi community,” Paswan added. (PTI File Photo)

After BSP supremo Mayawati questioned the backward caste identity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the NDA on Monday fielded its ally and Dalit face Ram Vilas Paswan to counter it.

“Nobody is born in backward caste. It's the Constitution of India which declares a caste as backward as per provisions,” he said at a press conference, in response to Mayawati's remarks that Modi was born an upper caste but got his caste included in the backward category for political gains when he was the Gujarat chief minister.

Paswan, LJP chief and a Union minister in the Modi government, accused Mayawati of stooping to “a low level of politics” by raising questions over Modi's caste, saying she is making such comments in anticipation of her party's defeat in the elections.

“They are making so much hue and cry over Modiji's caste. We all know how Modi was abused in Gujarat for his belonging to the Ghanchi community,” he added.

Paswan, whose party is contesting six out of 40 seats in Bihar and is facing a tough battle against the Opposition's grand alliance candidates on at least three of the seats, accused the Mahagathbandhan of conveying to the Muslims that “Modi wants to finish them.”

“NDA is anti-terrorist, not anti-Muslims. We do not discriminate. We want to make India a strong country. Prime Minister has also said that India can not be made a strong country by weakening 18% minority communities.” he maintained.

Paswan spent a significant time during the press conference countering the poll campaigns of the Congress on the issue of lack of social justice, reservation for scheduled caste (SC), scheduled tribe (ST) and the other backward classes (OBCs) as well as the grand old party's poll promise for launching “a surgical strike” on poverty.

“They are harping the old tunes — reservation, reservation, reservation — while it remains a fact that Congress did not provide reservation to any backward community,” he said.

Provision for reservation to SCs and STs was the outcome of the Poona Pact between Mahatma Gandhi and B R Ambedkar in 1932 while reservation in jobs and education for the OBCs came during the National Front coalition government led by VP Singh, he said.

“Congress does not have any moral right to talk about reservation,” he added

Paswan also rejected the Opposition's charge that the RJD supremo is behind bars today as he did not join hands with the BJP. He said, “NDA had no role to play in Lalu's case. Lalu was jailed for the first time in 1997 when IK Gujaral was the Prime Minister. Shivanand Tiwari, who is RJD spokesperson today, was one of the complainants in Lalu's case.”

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