The BJP on Friday claimed the party and the government had no role in the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi as a Lok Sabha member and launched a campaign to portray the Congress leader’s remark related to the Modi surname and “thieves” as an insult to the OBC community.
Starting with BJP president J.P. Nadda, the party fielded three senior ministers through the day to amplify the “insult-to-OBC” campaign, betraying desperation to extract political advantage from a move being widely seen as a vindictive offensive against Rahul.
The BJP declared that it would run a countrywide campaign to tellthe OBCs how “feudal” Rahul had insulted them.
A meeting of the OBC ministers was held and they were asked to issue statements highlighting the “insult”. Also, the OBC MPs of the BJP have been called to a dinner meeting with Nadda on March 28.
“Now, Mr @RahulGandhi calls the entire OBC community thieves. He gets a flak in the Court but he refuses to apologise thus showing how deep-rooted his hatred for OBCs is,” Nadda tweeted on Friday morning.
The estimated population of the OBCs across multiple castes is around 40 per cent. The BJP, traditionally known as a “Brahmin-Bania” party, has been making a sustained effort to turn the OBCs into a vote base.
States like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh where elections are due later this year have a large population of OBCs. After Nadda’s tweet, labour and environment minister Bhupender Yadav, an OBC, was fielded to slam Rahul.
“By comparing the OBC community to thieves, Rahul Gandhi has revealed his casteist mindset. The Congress must remember abusing the OBC community doesn’t come under right to freedom,” Yadav said at a morning media address.
Post-noon, the BJP fielded two ministers, education minister Dharmendra Pradhan (an OBC) and information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur.
“Rahul Gandhi has been convicted in a defamation case and sentenced to two years in jail. According to the law, conviction leads to disqualification from Parliament. The government or the BJP has no role,” Pradhan said.
The BJP seemed to have been prepared in advance for Rahul’s disqualification. The disqualification notification from the Lok Sabha secretariat was put out after the finance bill was passed.