New Delhi: Joining BJP leaders in the list of 'controversy makers', a minister in Rajasthan's Congress government has kicked off a row by claiming that she would first serve the people of her community and then focus on others.
"Pratham karya hamara hamari jaati ke liye, uske baad hamare samaj ke liye, uske baad sarv samaj ke liye, sab ke liye. Hamari mansha yeh rahegi ki hum sabke liye kaam kar paayein (Our priority is to serve the people of our caste, followed by the people of our community and then the entire society. We will try to benefit all)," said Women and Child Development Mamta Bhupesh.
Bhupesh, with an MBA degree, is the only woman minister in chief minister Ashok Gehlot’s cabinet who was sworn in on December 23 along with other ministers.
She later issued a clarification, saying that she will work for the benefit of all.
The minister is from Berwa (Bairwa) community, which a scheduled caste from Indian state Rajasthan. "Berwa" means brave. They are associated with animal husbandry and agriculture and are the third largest schedule caste group in the state.
Bhupesh has been with the party for past 26 years. She was the NSUI secretary from 1992 to 1994 and from 1995 to 2000. She was the state secretary of Congress and was National General Secretary of Mahila Congress.
The political leaders have in the past been the eye of the storm for making comments on caste. In 2016, a BJP leader in Aligarh, Madhu Mishra, said that Dalits are progressing because of the Constitution and one day will rule the upper castes. She called for "a war against this rise". She made this comment at the Holi Milan in the presence of BJP MP Satish Gautam.