NEW DELHI: BJP on Saturday flayed health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad for “casteist” remarks against Narendra Modi, saying Azad’s deprecatory reference to the Gujarat CM is an insult to the backward community.
Although it is unclear whether Azad was aware of the caste implications of his criticism made in the context of the CM’s speech “countering” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Independence Day address on Thursday, it allowed the BJP to emphasize Modi’s other backward caste (OBC) moorings.
“Ghulam Nabi Azad did not just insult Modi by calling him Gangu Teli but also insulted the community to which he belongs. This is unfortunate,” BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said
The health minister’s jibe gave BJP an opportunity to draw attention to Modi’s unpretentious origins and underline the leader’s “work ethic” that saw him rise to high office.
BJP also demanded Azad withdraw his words immediately and tender an apology for allegedly insulting all backward castes and especially the members of the Teli community.
Another BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said, “Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has cast a casteist aspersion. We condemn this. Calling somebody a ‘Gangu Teli’ is an insult not only to OBCs but practically the whole country. We demand Azad and Congress should apologize.”
Jaitley said Azad had used “derogatory” words against Modi which should have been countered strongly but decently.