We gave country its first OBC PM, Rahul engaging in poll drama: BJP OBC Cell chief (IANS Interview)
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) OBC Morcha National President K. Laxman called Rahul Gandhi and his allied parties' demands for caste-based census and OBC reservations an 'electoral drama', stating that the BJP would expose it to the public.
Santosh Kumar Pathak
New Delhi, Oct 15 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) OBC Morcha National President K. Laxman called Rahul Gandhi and his allied parties' demands for caste-based census and OBC reservations an 'electoral drama', stating that the BJP would expose it to the public.
In an interview with IANS, Laxman, who is leading a campaign on behalf of BJP among OBC community across the country, discussed various issues, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi's connection with the OBC community, Rahul Gandhi's demand for caste-based census, Bihar government's initiative, Rohini Commission's report, and implications of OBC politics for 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
IANS: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is demanding a caste-based census and is attacking BJP government over OBC reservations. How does the BJP view this?
Laxman: Rahul Gandhi has no right to talk about OBC. Congress has always been anti-OBC, from the times of Nehru to Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and today Rahul Gandhi. These people never made any policy or took any decision for the benefit of OBCs.
Nehru never discussed the recommendation made for the backward classes by Kakasaheb Kalelkar in Parliament. He remained the Prime Minister of the country for 17 years, and later, Indira Gandhi became the Prime Minister, but she also did nothing for the OBCs. During the Janata Party government, the Mandal Commission was formed, and the Janata Dal government implemented the Mandal Commission's report.
Rajiv Gandhi also opposed the Mandal Commission's recommendation within the Parliament and called V.P. Singh a casteist leader. Later, the Janata Dal government ruled for ten years, but they never thought about giving constitutional status to the backward class commission.
Today, the regional parties talking about OBCs were supporting the Manmohan Singh government at that time, but they also did nothing for OBCs. Even when the proposal to give constitutional status to the backward class commission was made after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, Congress, Left parties, and regional parties opposed it in Parliament.
IANS: But now Rahul Gandhi is vigorously raising this issue and targeting BJP government?
Laxman: Rahul Gandhi becomes an OBC, Scheduled Caste (SC), Scheduled Tribe (ST), and 'Janeudhari' whenever elections comes. It's all an 'electoral drama'. He doesn't genuinely care about the OBCs.
Ever since Modi became the Prime Minister, Rahul Gandhi has been consistently using derogatory language regarding his caste, insulting the OBC community, and has even faced legal consequences for it. The BJP will expose Rahul Gandhi among the public.
Question: How will your party expose them?
Laxman: We (BJP) have worked for the public. We will go among the people and tell them the truth with facts and figures that in the last nine years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken decisions for the OBC community that previous governments never even thought about.
We will gather intellectuals from the OBC society all over the country and tell them that the Prime Minister has increased our respect and dignity by making 27 OBC leaders ministers at the centre. The party has provided 27 per cent reservation in central educational institutions and NEET. We brought the Matsya Sampada Yojana and recently launched the Vishwakarma Yojana. All of this has been possible only because of PM Modi.
IANS: But the opposition including Rahul Gandhi, are making a concerted effort to raise the issue of caste-based census elsewhere?
Laxman: Rahul should first apologise to the OBC community and explain why his party, which was in power for 60 years, did not do it? He should also explain why his government in Karnataka did not release the caste census figures, even after conducting the survey.
IANS: Nitish-Tejashwi government is being credited for releasing the figures?
Laxman: What Nitish Kumar did was a decision of the NDA government when the BJP was part of the Bihar government. It was a joint decision of the BJP-JDU coalition government. Now, during the elections, Rahul Gandhi and his allies are trying to provoke people with the caste issue, but the public knows better.
IANS: But they are making it a major electoral issue in the upcoming elections in five states and next year's Lok Sabha elections. Is this not a matter of concern for the BJP?
Laxman: We are not concerned. Our government has worked. We will go among the OBC community and tell them what our government has done for them. For us, 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' is not just a slogan.
We have appointed 27 OBCs as ministers in the central government, and for the first time in the country, we have made an Adivasi woman the President. We do not want to divide society along lines of caste or religion, instead, we aim to unite. We will present our agenda, which is centered on development and the welfare of the poor. However, these people (Opposition) are not willing to discuss the development and the welfare of the poor.
IANS: But the opposition is not satisfied with just the enumeration of states. Rahul Gandhi said in Parliament that only three Union Secretaries are from the OBC.
Laxman: Rahul should tell who is responsible for this. Our President J.P. Nadda had responded to him with facts in the Rajya Sabha. Rahul should answer who was in power in the country before 1992.
IANS: Are you planning to use the Rohini Commission's recommendations as a trump card to break the opposition's siege?
Laxman: The Rohini Commission has just submitted its report. When it is placed in the House, then we will see what recommendations are there in the report. But our clear belief is that the OBC communities that have not benefited from reservations should be given that benefit. We can understand this from schemes like Vishwakarma, which show how serious the Modi government is about their welfare.
IANS: In the era of political alliances, do you think there is a division among the OBC voters?
Laxman: There is no such thing as division, the entire OBC community is with PM Modi.
IANS: What about the Yadavs?
Laxman: The entire OBC community is with PM Modi, and all Yadavs are connected with us and continually joining. The Yadavs have also realised that the leaders who have been doing politics in their name have only worked for the benefit of their families. They have never worked for the welfare of the Yadavs, be it Mulayam Singh Yadav or Lalu Prasad Yadav.
IANS: Do you think that PM Modi's connection with the OBC community is the biggest plus point for the BJP?
Laxman: The BJP has made Narendra Modi, who comes from a poor OBC family, the Prime Minister of the country, and undoubtedly, this is a significant plus point for our party. He is a visionary leader connected to the OBC community and has shown the entire world how a person from a poor family is working to make India a 'Vishwa Guru'.
Today, leaders from around the world are praising PM Modi, and we feel proud that he belongs to our OBC community and is the Prime Minister of the country. Modi has become the Prime Minister twice with the support of the OBC community, and he is going to be elected for the third time in 2024. Therefore, the opposition is making efforts to incite OBC people, but the people are not falling into their trap.