Modi’s brother demands apology from Congress on caste question

Varanasi, May 9: Somabhai Modi, the elder brother of Bharatiya Janata Party prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, on Friday demanded an apology from the Congress Party for raising questions about the lattter’s caste.

“The Congress should apologise for raising this caste question and for trying to mislead the general public,” Somabhai Modi said.

“Raising questions of caste seems like a plot. Narendra bhai has an OBC certificate well before he became chief minister of Gujarat,” Somabhai added.

Somabhai Modi was objecting to the Congress claiming that 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. B.R. 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.

Objections were also raised by senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley and Ravi Shankar Prasad, who described the Congress accusation as preposterous and smacking of political fright, as also the latter’s increasing conviction that it is going to be booted out of office. (ANI)