Narendra Modi belongs to an upper caste but has "manipulated" OBC status for political gains, the Congress party said on Thursday while seeking to "expose" the BJP's PM candidate ahead of his crucial Lok Sabha election from Varanasi.
Congress spokesman Shaktisinh Gohil, a known detractor of the Gujarat chief minister, on Thursday released a state government circular claiming that a year after he became chief minister in September 2001, it declared 'Modh Ghanchis' to which Modi belongs, as OBCs.
The Congress' "disclosure" has come at a time when the final phase of the Lok Sabha polling is to be held, especially in constituencies that include Varanasi, from where Modi is contesting, and other seats in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar which form the cradle of OBC politics.
"Of late, Gujarat chief minister has been indulging in a low level of political gimmickry. He has been desperately trying to invoke his OBC status and garner sympathy. Modi does not belong to Other Backward Communities (OBC) as he has been claiming to exploit OBC votes.
"He belongs to rich and prosperous Modh Ghanchis who were never given any kind of reservation nor were included in OBCs before Modi became CM. In the way encounters were fake in Gujarat, Modi is also a fake OBC," Gohil said.
Asking Modi to speak the truth and tell the nation why he committed a "sin of snatching the rights of OBCs by including an upper caste in OBC list", he said the Gujarat chief minister should "apologize" to the backward castes for "insulting" them.
"Modi has committed the sin of putting 'Modh Ghanchis' in the OBC list. He himself engages in low level politics and when somebody raises a voice against it, he tries to project it as an insult to backward communities," Gohil said.
He dismissed Modi's attack on Priyanka Gandhi over her "neech" rajniti remarks, which the BJP's PM candidate interpreted as an attack on his caste origins.
In remarks that could fuel fresh controversy, the Congress leader also alleged that rather than being a tea vendor, Modi had only whiled away time at a canteen, where his relative was the contractor, and whose "license was reportedly cancelled over sale of 'charas'".
The Congress leader claimed that a retired Dy SP had told this to him, but hastened to add that he had no proof of this right now and hence was "not levelling any allegation", and said he had filed an RTI application to find the facts.