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Grand old party claims Modi does not belong to OBC, never sold tea

DNMUM305410 | 5/9/2014 | Author : dna correspondent | WC :499 | Politics & Governance

MAHABHARATA

New Delhi
Long after the Bharatiya Janata Party has been using its prime ministerial candidate's 'backward caste' status to woo voters in the this election, the Congress on Thursday said that Narendra Modi doesn't belong to any backward caste. On the contrary, the Congress claimed, Modi was born in an upper caste "Vaishya" family, with the title of Modh for being wealthy like the Modh Brahmins and Modh Banias. His family, alleged the Congress, belonged to the "Modh Ghanchi" Vaishya sub-caste.
As evidence of Modi belonging to an upper caste, the Congress presented a Gujarat government resolution dated January 1, 2002, which shows that Modi placed the Modh Ghanchi caste, a minority found only in Gujarat, in the Other Backward Castes (OBCs) category within four months of becoming the state's prime minister. Former Gujarat Assembly opposition leader Shaktisinh Gohil said the Congress had obtained the Gujarat government resolution under the Right To Information Act (RTI).
"By acquiring OBC status for his selfish motives, Modi has encroached upon the right of members of OBC," said Gohil. "Modi is a man born in upper caste who is indulging in low level politics. A man's actions have nothing to do with his caste. The best example of this is Dr. BR Ambedkar."
Referring to Modi as a "fake OBC," Gohil also contested Modi's claim of being a tea-seller, saying his uncle ran a canteen at a state road transport office, where Modi would sit occasionally. "If what Modi says about being a tea-seller is true, then he should disclose from which larri (cart) he used to do so. There must be many persons of his age, who used to have the tea stalls in the area, who can vouch for his authenticity," said Gohil.
Asked why the Congress was revealing this information so late in the day, Gohil said he received the government resolution just a couple of days ago and that could make it public only after polling was over on Wednesday in the Abdasa assembly by-election, which he contested in Gujarat. He explained that the Modh Ghanchis are not of the "Teli" caste like the Muslim Ghanchis of Gujarat, who enjoy the OBC status. They are "Vaishyas," said Gohil, quoting from the Gujarati lexicon 'Bhagvadgomandal' which states that Modh are rich people living in a particular village. Modh is an adjective showing prosperity status of a particular caste or community.
Modi is an OBC, says Gujarat govt
Responding to Congress charge that Narendra Modi was a ‘fake’ OBC, Gujarat government cited its two-decade old notification which says the Modh-Ghanchi (oil-pressers) caste, to which Modi belongs, was included in Other Backward Castes (OBCs) category.
“The Social Welfare Department of the Gujarat Government had passed a notification on July 25, 1994 which included 36 castes as OBCs and at number 25 (b) Modh-Ghanchi caste has been mentioned to which Narendra Modi belongs. The caste has been included amongst OBCs,” Nitin Patel, the state government’s spokesperson, said.
   



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