“We Will Keep Fighting”: Ashok Gehlot On Rahul Gandhi Disqualification

Rahul Gandhi was sentenced to 2 years in jail by a Surat court in a 2019 criminal defamation case. (File)

New Delhi:

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot Sunday slammed the BJP over its allegation that Rahul Gandhi insulted OBCs with his “Modi surname” remark in 2019 and said his party has done a lot for the backward classes, including making an OBC leader like him Chief Minister thrice.

He also pointed out that his Chhattisgarh counterpart Bhupesh Baghel was also an OBC.

Rahul Gandhi was on Thursday sentenced to two years in jail by a Surat court in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his “why all thieves have Modi surname” remark. He was later disqualified from the Lok Sabha from the date of his conviction in the case.

Several BJP leaders, including party chief J P Nadda, have accused Rahul Gandhi of insulting Other Backward Classes (OBCs) with his remark.

Addressing a gathering at the Congress’ day-long “Sankalp Satyagraha” at Rajghat, Mr Gehlot said Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducted an “experiment” during the Gujarat polls in 2017 by saying that a Congress leader abused him and highlighted his OBC status.

In a repeat of that experiment, the BJP is claiming again before elections that Rahul Gandhi insulted OBCs, Mr Gehlot said.

“In 2017, when the BJP was losing the Gujarat elections, Modi ji played the OBC card against the Congress there. The BJP today again wants to run a campaign to mislead the OBCs,” he alleged.

“Are fugitives like Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi OBCs?” he asked. “You are protecting fugitives such as Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi, and then saying Rahul Gandhi insulted OBCs. Can anyone forget what the Congress has done for OBCs, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes,” Mr Gehlot posed.

“I have been made Chief Minister for the third time by Sonia ji and Rahul ji. I am an OBC. There is only one member of the OBC Mali community (in the assembly) and that is me,” Mr Gehlot said what “bigger message” could be there for the OBCs than him being made chief minister again and again.

Elections are near and that is why they are raising this bogey of OBC insult, he alleged. “It is baseless.” Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh also tweeted a video of Gehlot’s remarks on the BJP’s OBC charge.

In a tweet in Hindi, Jairam Ramesh also said, “Difference between words and actions! In 1992, the Congress government implemented the Mandal Commission. In 2006, the Congress government made a provision for reservation for OBCs in higher education. During 2011-12, the caste census of about 25 crore families was done by the Congress government.”

“Whereas BJP has stopped the caste census,” he added.

In his remarks, Mr Gehlot said the sacrifices of the Gandhi family are before everyone and Rahul Gandhi is constantly raising the issue of unemployment and high prices.

“They could not answer allegations raised by Rahul Gandhi in Parliament. I have never seen before that allegations are raised but instead of answering the prime minister has taken a vow of silence,” Mr Gehlot said.

The BJP made allegations against Gandhi for his remarks abroad when he said what he had been saying in the country. It is the prime minister who should answer and apologise, he said.

“Rahul Gandhi has emerged as the voice of the country. We will keep fighting to ensure that democracy is kept alive in the country,” the Rajasthan chief minister said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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