Rahul Gandhi Mocks Opponents Over Caste Census, Likens Caste System to ‘X-Ray’

PTI, Apr 24, 2024, 1:29 PM IST

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying those who call themselves ‘deshbhakt’ are scared of the ‘X-ray’ of caste census but ”no force” can stop it.

Addressing the ‘Samajik Nyay Sammelan’ here, Gandhi said he is not interested in caste but in ‘nyay’ (justice) and asserted that it is his life’s mission to ensure justice for the 90 percent of the population against whom injustice has been done.

”As soon as our government is formed, the first thing that would be done is a caste census,” Gandhi said.

He said the Congress manifesto talks about the X-ray and the income inequality created by Modi.

Modi has transferred Rs 16 lakh crore to select business people and the Congress is going to return a small amount to the 90 per cent of the population, he said.

”We have calculated…what we felt is justice and that help should be given, we put it down in the manifesto,” he said of the party’s guarantees mentioned in the manifesto.

Taking a swipe at the media for dubbing him a ”non-serious” politician in the past, the former Congress chief cited his involvement with MGNREGA scheme, Land Acquisition Bill, Bhatta Parsaul movement, Niyamgiri Hills matter, and said for the media all this was ”non-serious” while talking about Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and Virat Kohli was serious.

”Anybody who talks of the 90 per cent of the population is dubbed non-serious,” Gandhi said.

He said that he looked upon the stakeholders in the media industry and found that there was not a single OBC, Dalit or tribal anchor.

”So the loudspeaker is not with you. There is no representation in the media. Whose money goes into media, governments give money, whose money is it it comes in GST. This is the money of the 90 per cent people,” he said addressing the gathering largely comprising those belonging to Dalits, tribals and backward organisations. He said the same was the case with the judiciary, with out of 650 high court judges, only 100 belonging to the 90 per cent of the population.

Gandhi said in the top 200 firms of the country also, there was no Dalit, tribal or OBC.

”Narendra Modi has given Rs 16 lakh crore to 25 people from these firms. If you waive farmers’ loans 25 times, that money has been given by the prime minister to 25 people,” he alleged.

”I am not interested in caste but in nyay. I am saying that gross injustice is being done with 90 per cent of the population. I have not even said that we will take any action on that. I just said let us find out how much injustice is being done. There should be no objection to that. If you get injured and I say that get an X-ray done, no one should object to that,” the Congress leader said.

”But look at the national media and Narendra Modi as soon as I used the word X-ray and said let us test how much injustice is there, they stood up and started saying ‘that attempts being made to divide country, break it’.

An X-ray will only tell about participation and is about justice and all ‘deshbhakts (patriots) would like this. ”What does a deshbhakt want? A deshbhakt wants justice in the country. A deshbhakt wants India to move forward and become a super power. So if you want to become a super power and move ahead of China, one has to use strength of 90 per cent of the population. Those who calls themselves ‘deshbhakt’ are scared of X-Ray,” he said.

”For 10 years Modi said he is an OBC but as soon as I talked about caste census, he said ‘there are no castes’. If there are no castes how are you an OBC. Then you should have said I have no caste. He then says there are two castes rich and poor…if you say so, I say take out the list of poor and you will get Dalit, adivasis, backwards,” Gandhi said.

He asserted that ensuring justice for 90 per cent of the population was not about politics but is his life’s mission.

There is a difference between life’s mission and politics as one can compromise in politics but not in life’s mission, Gandhi said.

He alleged that the BJP’s aim is to divert attention of Dalits, OBCs, tribals by raising Pakistan, China and Bollywood.

”Problem they (BJP) have is that you can only divert attention for a limited period and that time has come when OBC is asking what is happening. Ram Mandir wa constructed and we did not see one of our (Dalits and tribals) person, Parliament building was inaugurated but we did not see our person,” Gandhi said.

Referring to President Droupadi Murmu, he said it is the head of state’s job to inaugurate Parliament but she was excluded from the ceremony.

Asserting that caste census will give clarity, Gandhi said it is not just a caste survey but an economic and institutional survey would also be attached to it.

The country will get to know how many Dalits, adivasis and poor general castes are there and their participation in various sectors, he added.

”Understand this that this is not politics for me and this is my life’s mission and I guarantee… no force can stop caste census. The more it is stopped, the more it will return with bigger force because 90 per cent people, they are not probably saying it, but they have understood that in the institutional structure and the economy of the country, they do not have any place despite 90 per cent of the country being theirs,” Gandhi said.

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