Only Modi has worked for backward castes: Shah

SP, BSP favoured their caste groups, says Home Minister

Only the BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, worked for the backward castes and the poor while the SP and BSP only favoured specific castes, Union Home Minister Amit Shah claimed on Friday at a rally in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh.

Addressing a rally hosted by BJP ally, the Nishad Party, which claims to be the political voice of the riverine backward castes, Mr. Shah said the previous governments run by the SP and BSP had only worked “for their castes,” in a veiled attack on the Yadav (OBC) and Jatav (Scheduled Caste) core support banks of the two parties, respectively.

“Did they work for the Nishad community? Did they work for the other backward castes,” Mr. Shah asked, stressing that only Mr. Modi had worked for all backward castes and the poor providing them cooking gas, toilets, housing facilities, drinking water and health cards.

Mr. Shah said it was the Modi government which had provided constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes and formed a separate Ministry for Fisheries and not the Congress, which enjoyed the support of the SP and BSP.

He accused the SP and BSP leadership of dividing “society for caste” and said they used deceit against their own castes to further the interests of their own families. It was Mr. Modi also who was taking everyone along, the Union Home Minister said, promising that if the BJP returned to power in U.P. in 2022 it would fulfill all the “agendas” of the Nishad community.

A major demand of the Nishad Party headed by Sanjay Nishad, who was recently promoted as an MLC, has been the inclusion of the Nishad communities into the Scheduled Caste category and withdrawal of all police cases against his party workers agitating for reservation.

Mr. Shah also deployed rhetoric packed with Hindu symbolism to appeal to the Nishads, who have traditionally been associated with fishing and boating, and count bandit-turned-politician Phoolan Devi among their icons and trace origin to the mythological Nishadraj who is said to have ferried Lord Ram, his wife and brother across the Ganga during their exile.

Mr Shah said that while a Ram Temple was now being built in Ayodhya, Mr. Modi had also restored the grandeur of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi through the Kashi Vishwanath Temple Corridor.

The Nishad Party and the BJP had entered into an alliance during the 2019 Lok Sabha election.

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