Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has dabbled in his version of caste-based politics, while slamming politicians in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh for practicing their brand of the formula.
In the last four months, Modi has organised or attended more than six caste and community functions across the state.
The CM's actions in the run-up to assembly polls due in December are in sharp contrast to his remarks that Gujarat has given up caste-based politics in favour of development.
Last month, he attended a Brahmin public convention and another function of the Patels in Surat. Modi's apparent bid to woo voters across all sections also saw him attend two functions of migrant labourers from Bihar in Surat.
Migrant labourers — including those from Odisha and Rajasthan — have a strong electoral presence in four assembly constituencies of the diamond and textile city.
Modi also attended another Brahmin function in Kheda district in central Gujarat.
Apart from reaching out to Patels, Brahmins and non-Gujaratis, Modi was recently present at a religious function of Ahirs, an Other Backward Class community, in Jamnagar district. Ahirs are politically dominant in three assembly segments in the district.
In April, the state government had organised a function for tribals in Godhra district.
“Modi is responsible for introducing caste factor in Gujarat politics,” said Gordhan Zadaphia, a BJP dissident who has sided with former chief minister Keshubhai Patel.
On Sunday, Modi had criticised “caste-based leaders and politics in Bihar and UP”.
Kumar reacted sharply, asking him to “limit his concerns to Gujarat”.