The BJP today described Congress president Rahul Gandhi's address at his party's OBC convention as "vote-bank politics" aimed at "hoodwinking" the community for votes and asked him to clear his stand on the Narendra Modi government's plan to accord constitutional status to the backward classes commission.
Union minister Ram Kripal Yadav, who hails from the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), said the opposition party had lost its votes in all sections of the society and its OBC outreach was driven by its concern over its diminishing support.
While Gandhi seemed concerned about the condition of the OBCs, he should say what did the Congress governments do for decades, Yadav said, claiming that the Dalits and backward classes were the major beneficiaries of the Modi dispensation's welfare schemes.
"After a long time, the Congress and Rahul Gandhi are remembering the OBCs. When they ruled the country and most of the states, they did nothing for them. This is nothing but vote-bank politics. He is trying to hoodwink them for votes by misleading them," the Union minister of state for rural development said.
"Rahul Gandhi should make his position clear on whether he supports the constitutional status for the commission or not. Why is he silent?" he asked.
The welfare schemes of the Centre like "Mudra" and "Ujjwala", among others, have 70 per cent beneficiaries who are Dalits, tribals or OBCs, the BJP leader claimed.
He said decisions aimed at the uplift of the OBCs were always taken by non-Congress governments, which had the support of the BJP, and cited the constitution of the Mandal Commission and the implementation of its recommendations as examples.
Yadav claimed that Sardar Patel, who he said had led the backward classes, did not get due respect from the Congress and referred to the alleged neglect of Dalit icon Bhim Rao Ambedkar by the party to drive home his point.
The OBCs account for a little over 50 per cent of the population of the country.
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