PM asks Congress to field ‘illiterates’ in assembly polls

New Delhi: Replying to opposition salvos on minimum educational qualification for contesting panchayat polls in Gujarat and Rajasthan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday challenged the Congress to field “illiterate people” in the upcoming assembly elections in five states beginning next month.

“Let you give tickets to illiterate people and see what the experience will be like,” Modi said, replying to the debate on the motion of thanks on the President’s Address to parliament.

Support TwoCircles

The prime minister chided the Congress for raising the issue, which has already been “approved by the Supreme Court”.

“But we try to give political colour to everything,” he said. “We can have different points of view but don’t politicise everything.”

The Congress has criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments in Rajasthan and Gujarat for such moves which the opposition parties say go against the grain of grass-roots democracy. The moves specify educational qualifications for people contesting elections to local bodies.

The matter was earlier raised by Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is Leader of Opposition, in the upper house. Azad underlined how weaker sections were being prevented from contesting elections in the name of fixing minimum educational qualifications for panchayat poll contestants.

Modi said he cannot be challenged on that because he has been campaigning for literacy, particularly the girl child education, since very long.