'My comments was misquoted by media houses': Ashok Gehlot clarifies on Dalit remark

Madhuri Adnal

Jaipur, Apr 17: Rajasthan Chief minister Ashok Gehlot took to Twitter to respond to the criticism he is facing from the BJP.

"It is very unfortunate that my comments during PC have been misquoted by few media houses. I have the greatest regards for the President of India, and personally for Sh. Ramnath ji whom I have met in person and highly impressed with his simplicity and humbleness," he said.

Earlier in the day, Gehlot had accused the BJP of mistreating veteran leader L K Advani, saying the party denied him office of the President and pushed for Ram Nath Kovind, a Dalit, instead for "vote bank politics". Kovind was elected president in July 2017 and Gujarat assembly elections were held in December in the year.

Also Read | Democracy, Constitution under threat in BJP rule, says Rajasthan CM

His comment can be seen as a move to woo Dalit voters away from the BJP.

However, the BJP called the comment "anti-Dalit, anti-poor and anti-constitutional" and demanded an apology and strong action.

In 2014, the BJP emerged as a major recipient of Dalit votes, whereas the Congress' vote share in the community declined by 8 per cent.

L K Advani and M M Joshi were sidelined in the party after 2014 general elections, in which the BJP got clear majority under the leadership of Narendra Modi.

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