Jagdalpur: In a public meeting in Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for identifying as an Other Backward Class (OBC) member while emphasizing that the poor constitute the only caste in the country. Gandhi also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of insulting tribals by using the term ‘vanvasi’ instead of ‘adivasis’ and pledged to eliminate the derogatory term ‘vanvasi’ from the country.
Gandhi highlighted the difference between ‘vanvasi’ and ‘adivasi,’ stating that the BJP’s mindset towards tribals is disrespectful. He mentioned an incident where a BJP leader urinated on a tribal youth, emphasizing the need for better treatment of adivasis. He stated that adivasis are the original owners of the country and the BJP avoids using this term to evade returning land, water, and forests to them.
Gandhi pointed out that PM Modi once referred to the poor as the only caste in the country, despite the existence of Dalit, adivasi, and backward class people. He questioned why Modi identifies as an OBC if there is only one caste.
Furthermore, Gandhi criticized the BJP-led government for favoring corporate interests, particularly tycoons like Adani, at the expense of the rural population. He alleged that money meant for development ends up abroad, benefiting business leaders and the ruling party.
Gandhi highlighted Congress’s initiatives in support of tribals, including the tribal bill, PESA Act, and land acquisition bill, and claimed to have canceled Adani’s iron ore project in Chhattisgarh. He asserted that Congress provides financial support to farmers, laborers, and tribals.
Chhattisgarh’s state assembly elections are scheduled for November 7 and 17. Rahul Gandhi urged the audience to question the unfulfilled promises made by PM Modi, including the pledge of depositing Rs 15 lakh in every citizen’s bank account and the creation of 2 crore jobs per year.
In Kharsia assembly constituency, Gandhi acknowledged the legacy of Nand Kumar Patel, a Congress leader who was assassinated in the Jhiram valley Naxal attack in 2013. He expressed his determination to bring the culprits to justice and commended Nand Kumar Patel’s dedication to the Congress ideology. Gandhi suggested that if Nand Kumar Patel were alive, he could have been the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh today.