AHMEDABAD, 21 May (PTI): Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday accused the opposition Congress of harassing and insulting the Other Backward Classes during its rule at the Centre, and asserted that it was the BJP that gave the first OBC prime minister to the country in the form of Narendra Modi.
Addressing a national convention of the Modi community here, Shah said PM Modi gave the OBCs their due respect and understood the pain of poor citizens because he himself was born in such a family.
Referring to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s conviction in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his “Modi surname” remark, he said if someone insults a person, it is not a big deal, but if someone insults an entire community and the prime minister, then it is an insult to the entire country.
“During its rule at the Centre, Congress only neglected, harassed and insulted the OBCs. As soon as BJP came to power, PM Modi gave OBC community its due respect. And it was BJP who gave the first OBC PM to the country in the form of Modi,” said Shah, who has been on a two-day visit to home state Gujarat since Saturday.
He informed the members of the Modi community that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also gave several OBC chief ministers and also accorded constitutional status to the OBC Commission.
Other initiatives taken by the Modi government for the backward classes include introducing reservations in Kendriya and Navodaya Vidyalay schools, introducing reservation in National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and creating a venture capital fund for OBC entrepreneurs, the Union minister said.
“Congress ruled the country for nearly 56 years. But it never did anything for OBCs. On the other hand, Modiji did so many things in nine years for the OBCs. In addition, Modiji always remained concerned about the poor people. He understood the pain of the poor because he himself was born in such a family,” Shah added.
According to him, the BJP government at the Centre provided cooking gas connection to 13 crore households, built 10 crore toilets, provided electricity to three crore households and built three crore houses for the needy citizens.
Shah said the Modi government used technology to uproot corruption and middlemen from the system.
“You all should feel proud that Modiji belongs to your community. It is a matter of great happiness and pride for every Indian because even US President Joe Biden asked Modiji for his autograph saying he is very popular in the US,” he added.
Citing various data like India becoming the second largest smartphone maker in the world, Shah said the country achieved more in the last nine years under PM Modi than what it achieved in the previous 65 years.
PM Modi’s elder brother Somabhai Modi and BJP MLA from Surat, Purnesh Modi, among others, attended the convention.
Referring to Purnesh Modi’s defamation suit that led to Rahul Gandhi’s disqualification as an MP over his “Modi surname” remark, Shah said Purnesh Modi “fought the battle with firmness”.
“If someone insults a person, it is not a big deal, but if someone insults an entire community and country’s PM, then it is an insult to the entire country. Purneshbhai fought this battle with firmness and won it. I congratulate him and others for fighting a battle for the dignity of your community. Entire country is with you,” the Union minister said.
Earlier during the day, Shah flagged off nearly 320 new buses of the state road transport corporation and also inaugurated a modern organic testing laboratory of Amulfed Dairy in Gandhinagar.