The government issued a detailed response on Thursday, February 8, to Congress Lok Sabha MP Rahul Gandhi’s assertion that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not born into an Other Backward Class (OBC) community. Rahul Gandhi, during his ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ in Odisha, accused PM Modi of misleading the public by identifying himself as an OBC member, claiming that he was born into the Ghanchi caste, which was included in the OBC list during the BJP government’s tenure in Gujarat.
In a fact-check note titled “facts regarding Rahul Gandhi’s statement on PM’s caste,” the government clarified that the Modh Ghanchi caste, including the sub-group to which PM Modi belongs, is included in the Gujarat government’s list of socially and educationally backward classes and OBCs. The note presented historical evidence to counter Rahul Gandhi’s claims.
According to the government’s statement, after a survey in Gujarat, the Mandal Commission prepared a list of OBCs under Index 91(A), which included the Modh Ghanchi caste. The Indian government’s list of 105 OBC castes for Gujarat has also included Modh Ghanchi. The notification to include this sub-group in the list of OBCs was issued on July 25, 1994, during the Congress’s rule in Gujarat.
The government emphasised that another notification on April 4, 2000, under a Congress-led administration, reiterated the inclusion of the Modh Ghanchi caste in the OBC list. It pointed out that during both notifications, PM Modi was not in power and did not hold an executive office.
Click here to download the complete document that mentions that Narendra Modi’s caste was notified as an OBC on October 27, 1999, a full two years before he became the Chief minister of Gujarat
Rahul Gandhi’s comments on PM Modi’s caste add to the ongoing debate over a national caste census, with the opposition pushing for its implementation. The BJP, historically averse to the idea, has faced increased pressure following revelations from Bihar’s statewide caste survey, confirming that OBCs and Extremely Backward Classes (EBC) account for over 60% of the state’s population.
This week, Rahul Gandhi pledged to conduct a nationwide caste census and remove the Supreme Court-ordered 50 per cent cap on reservations if the Congress wins the upcoming Lok Sabha election. PM Modi responded in the Rajya Sabha, countering Nehruvian views on reservations and emphasising the government’s commitment to the welfare of SC, ST, and OBC communities.
The ongoing exchange underscores the political significance of caste dynamics in India, with the BJP and Congress engaging in a war of words over historical perspectives, policy decisions, and the portrayal of leaders’ caste identities. As the political narrative unfolds, the focus on caste-related issues continues to be a crucial element in shaping public opinion in the lead-up to the elections.