Addressing a huge meeting of a prominent Scheduled Caste organisation in Kochi, Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Sunday called himself “a victim of untouchability”.
Noting the absence of the Kochi Mayor, a Congress leader, at the meeting despite his name being in the invitation letter, he said: “Narendra Modi is living in this society as a victim of untouchability.”
Modi was inaugurating the centenary celebrations of Kayal Sammelan (or lake meeting), organised by the Kerala Pulayar Maha Sabha (KPMS). A century back, Dalits in Kochi had held a meeting on a flotilla in the Kerala backwaters when the then rulers did not permit the backwards to organise it on land.
In the last century, Modi said, those who had brought about change in the country were those who belonged to backward communities or those who had dedicated their lives to Dalits. Recounting his own humble origins, he said his mother used to clean utensils in their neighbourhood.
He had taken on untouchability during his school days by scripting and acting in a mono act, he said. When he became the chief minister, Modi added, he had asked the daughter of the senior-most Scheduled Caste peon in government service to conduct the pooja before he moved into the official bungalow.
“You may be keen to know whom we sent to the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat in the recent elections. One member was from the Scheduled Castes and the other was from the fishermen community.”
Modi added: “You can mark my word that the coming decade would be of the backward communities.”
Making an indirect attack on the Gandhi family, Modi said that certain people think that all that had happened in the country in the past 60 years was due to one family. “Normally, politicians face the charge of working for their own family’s interests. However, I have not done anything for my family. But if I come to power in 2014, I want to do something for my family. That family will not be the one which gave birth for me. Instead, it will be this backward community.”
Pointing to the crowd in front of him, he added: “This is my family. I was born in this family, I was brought up in this family.”
He also accused the Congress of using backward communities to play vote bank politics. “That has provoked villages to fight against cities. Subsequently, we became disorganised. This is