Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi alleged that the BJP's prime ministerial candidate was indulging in "caste politics" in his desperate attempt to garner votes.
    
"It is unfortunate that he distorted Priyanka Gandhi's comments for political mileage. In BJP, whether one belongs to upper caste or lower caste, all of them are doing low-level politics," Alvi said.
    
"We never discriminate on caste basis and as far as this tweet is concerned, he (Modi) is doing caste politics. Nobody knows which caste Narendra Modiji belongs to? It is he himself who has disclosed that he belongs to OBC. He is doing this politics. Now he has come down to this level," he said.
    
Priyanka had hit out at Modi saying he had insulted his martyred father on Amethi's soil and accused the Gujarat Chief Minister of practising 'neech rajneeti'.
    
Modi earlier on Tuesday invoked his 'backward class' status to further mount attack on the Congress' star campaigner Priyanka Gandhi.
    
"As I belong to a socially backward caste, they consider my politics to be of a low level (neech rajneeti)," Modi said in a series of tweets.
    
The BJP, meanwhile, defended Modi saying Priyanka was "ill-advised" in using the 'neech' expression.
    
"She (Priyanka) doesn't understand the impact it can have, the negative impact it can have especially at the time when this country is trying to extricate itself out of caste politics. It is really insulting and I think she should have really kept out of it, and, considering the candidate in Amethi (Rahul Gandhi) is not speaking," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said countering the Congress attack.
    
Congress' Meem Afzal said Modi was making a "desperate" attempt to be a member of the backward class.
    
"It was not Priyankaji's intention what Modi is saying," he said.
    
Afzal added that yoga guru Ramdev also attempted to indulge in such kind of statements and now his politics has been "finished".    

Sitharaman said the word 'neech' has a "very very severe connotation" in a caste-ridden Indian life and when public figures use such words they should use them with responsibility.
    
She called the use of the said word as "insulting" for Modi as he asserted that such terms are used for people who "stand up to ask and who challenge the dynastic leadership of Congress party".
    
"I am objecting to the word 'neech' and I am also underlining the fact that is the mindset with which earlier Sitaram Kesari (former Congress President) was insulted and a leader from south was insulted in the same party," she said.
    
On his part, Alvi said Priyanka was referring to the low-level of politics when she used the word 'neech' in her statement.
    
"Does low-level politics belong to any caste?" he said.

(Agencies)

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