New Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday hit back at Congress president Rahul Gandhi for accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of having an 'anti-Dalit' mindset.
Alleging that the opposition party had a legacy of insulting Dalits, Amit Shah asked Rahul Gandhi to check facts when "free from winking".
In a series of tweets, Shah said PM Modi's legacy includes "strongest amendments to SC/ST Act" and setting up of the OBC Commission, while the Congress legacy was about insulting Dalit leaders, opposing the Mandal Commission report and blocking a move to empower the OBC body.
In a series of tweets Shah asked Rahul to spend some time on facts "when you are free from winking and disrupting Parliament".
Shah was referring to Gandhi's wink in Lok Sabha after hugging PM Modi during a debate on the no-confidence motion against the government.
"Congress way of treating Dalits is patronising and condescending. For years Congress insulted Dalit aspirations," Mr Shah said.
"Mr Rahul Gandhi, expecting research and honesty is difficult from you but do read Mr Rajiv Gandhi's speech during Mandal (row), when he opposed it (its recommendations) tooth & nail. The sense of entitlement and hatred for backward communities comes out so clearly. And today you talk about Dalit welfare!" he said.
Earlier on Thursday, Rahul Gandhi said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to marginalise the weaker sections of the society and targeted and questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "neeyat" (intentions) towards Dalits.
While addressing a gathering at the Jantar Mantar, Gandhi took a dig at the BJP campaign slogan for upcoming 2019 general elections, 'Saaf Neeyat, Sahi Vikas' (Good Intention, Right Development).
He said, "The things start with "neeyat" (intentions), whatever will be there in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's heart, the things will work according to that. Prime Minister Modi wants Dalits to remain marginalised. If Modi had a place for Dalits in his heart, his policies would have shown it by now. Prime Minister Modi had written in one of his books that it feels good when the house has been cleaned by a Dalit. The atrocities Act was given by the Congress party and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to India. I assure you, the Congress will not let the SC/ST Act to be diluted."
The Congress president said, "Prime Minister Modi's thinking is anti-Dalit. We will all beat them together in 2019. The Congress has always protected the SC / ST Act and will continue to do so."
The protestors at Jantar Mantar in the national capital are demanding the release of all their leaders arrested under criminal charges during April's Bharat Bandh.