Congress ‘opposed Mandal Commission report’, says Amit Shah

Congress ‘opposed Mandal Commission report’, says Amit Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah holds a mace during a public meeting for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, in Datia on Monday, November 13, 2023.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah holds a mace during a public meeting for the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections, in Datia on Monday, November 13, 2023.
| Photo Credit: ANI

Even as Congress leader Rahul Gandhi continues to push his party’s plank with the promise of a caste-based population survey in Madhya Pradesh, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday accused the grand old party of “insulting” the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and “opposing and suppressing” the Mandal Commission report.  

“The Congress party always insulted the backward class. The Congress suppressed the Mandal Commission report for several years. [Former Prime Minister] Rajiv Gandhi opposed implementing it,” Mr. Shah said, addressing a rally in Chanderi in Ashok Nagar district in the poll-bound State.

“They never gave the Backward Class Commission constitutional recognition for 70 years. But [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi-ji gave it constitutional recognition and gave respect to crores of people from the backward class,” he added.

Both the BJP and the Congress have been trying to woo the OBCs in Madhya Pradesh as they make up nearly 50% of the State’s population. 

Meanwhile, on a day when senior BJP leaders, includng Mr. Shah and Mr. Modi, made strident Hindutva-based appeals, the Congress released a video of Mr. Gandhi’s pilgrimage to Kedarnath. 

In the video, the Congress leader is seen interacting with a mauni baba (silent saint) through gestures and written words. The move can be seen as one of the Congress’s many subtle attempts to play the Hindu card in the run-up to the Assembly polls in the State. 

The Congress’ State unit chief and chief ministerial candidate Kamal Nath has portrayed himself as a “proud Hindu” on several occasions. He has also tried to counter the BJP’s Ayodhya Ram Mandir plank by saying that the temple belonged to every citizen of the country and the ruling party did not own it. 

Mr. Gandhi, during his multiple rallies and roadshows across the State, including in Bhopal and Neemuch, also attacked the BJP on the issue of corruption, and questioned the alleged inaction of Central agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and the Income-Tax (I-T) Department, in probing the purported video that surfaced recently of Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar’s son. 

The clip, which went viral on social media, allegedly showed Mr. Tomar’s son Devendra Pratap Singh Tomar “discussing transactions” worth hundreds of crores of rupees with an alleged middleman. The Union Minister is also a BJP candidate in the upcoming Assembly elections. 

“Did you see the video of Tomar-ji’s son? He is saying ₹10 crore will go here, ₹20 crore there, ₹100 crore put in the bank’s account. Whose money is he talking about? It is the people’s money,” Mr. Gandhi said in Neemuch.

“[The] PM’s Minister’s son is stealing in front of everyone on video call – did Modi ji take action? Was the ED sent? Was the CBI sent? Was the I[-]T department sent? No, because Madhya Pradesh has a government of corruption and 50% commission!” the Congress leader later said in an X post. 

Mr. Gandhi also attacked the State government led by BJP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan over various alleged scams, including the Vyapam scam, Mahakal Lok Corridor scam, and the Patwari exam scam.

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