Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Saturday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking why he identifies himself as an Other Backward Class (OBC) member when he considers poor as the only caste in the country.
Addressing a public meeting in Jagdalpur of poll-bound Chhattisgarh, he accused the BJP of insulting tribals by referring to them as ‘vanvasi’ instead of ‘adivasi’, and said his party will eliminate the term ‘vanvasi’ from the country.
“BJP leaders use vanvasi term for adivasi in their speeches. Narednra Modi and RSS have coined this new term vanvasi. There is a huge difference between vanvasi and adivasi terms. In Madhya Pradesh, a BJP leader urinated on a tribal youth and filmed the act then made it viral…This is the mindset of the BJP. They think that your place is in the forest like animals and they treat you like animals,” he added.
“Have you ever seen BJP leaders urinating on animals? But you have seen them urinating on an adivasi. Adivasi is a revolutionary word…Adivasis mean original owners of the country. BJP does not use this word because if they do, they’ll have to return your land, water, and forests to you,” he said. The word vanvasi is an insult to tribals and Congress will not accept it, he said.
“Earlier, Modi ji used vanvasi word in his speeches but now he avoids this word. He has changed his words, but he can’t change his thinking. His thinking is still to insult tribals,” Gandhi alleged. PM Modi said in his speech that poor is the only caste in the country, he said, “We all know there is Dalit, adivasi, backward in the country. If there is only one caste in the country why does he call himself an OBC?”
Attacking the BJP-led Centre, he said, “What does Modi ji do? (He asks) Give your land to Adani ji? Adani ji snatches your land and when you oppose, BJP government fires bullets on you. Adanji ji acquires your land and mines. Does money (from them) reach the villages of Chhattisgarh or Bastar? The money goes to America. It goes abroad. Adani ji gets benefits from that money. BJP leaders get it (money). The money is used for elections.”
He claimed that the Congress gives money to farmers, labourers and tribals which benefit them. Polling to the 90-member state assembly will be held in two phases on November 7 and 17. Jagdalpur constituency in tribal-dominated Bastar division is among 20 seats which will go to polls in the first phase while remaining 70 constituencies in the second one.