A debate over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks on caste boiled over today as the Congress’s new general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra weighed in, saying her party had never raised questions about his caste. Caste is one of the key factors in the heartland state of Uttar Pradesh and Mayawati, who commands a chunk of the Scheduled caste votes, has used it to attack PM Modi.

“I am still not aware of the caste that Modi belongs to. And the opposition and the Congress have never raised the issue of his caste,” Priyanka Gandhi told the media at Amethi, her brother and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s parliamentary constituency.

PM Modi’s caste became a matter of national debate ahead of the 2014 elections, with allegations that he is not a member of backward castes by birth and used the caste card only for electoral gains.

Yesterday, Mayawati said the Prime Minister had included himself among the backward castes during his term as the Gujarat chief minister for political benefits.

Speaking at Kannauj later, the Prime Minister had requested Mayawati not to “drag” him into “caste politics”.