In a press conference held at the Congress headquarters in Delhi on Monday, party leader Rahul Gandhi raised significant queries about caste diversity in India. His statements come in the wake of a somewhat tepid response from reporters, which he cited as a rationale for the party’s strong advocacy for a nationwide caste census.
Following the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting earlier that day, which threw its weight behind the call for a national caste census, Rahul Gandhi interacted with the media. During the interaction, he expressed his doubts about the Prime Minister’s capability to carry out a caste census and pointed out what he saw as a significant disparity in the representation of different castes within the BJP and Congress.
“The PM is incapable of doing the caste census. Our three out of four CMs are from the OBC category. Out of 10 BJP CMs, only one CM is from the OBC category. How many BJP CMs are from the OBC category? The PM doesn’t work for the OBCs but to distract them from main issues,” Gandhi asserted.
When a reporter inquired about the potential for a state-level economic survey, Rahul Gandhi firmly emphasized that the primary focus should be on population, wealth distribution, and the allocation of the country’s assets and institutions.
In a bold move, Rahul Gandhi asked the journalists present at the event to demonstrate by a show of hands the representation of different castes among them. “Let me ask you here. How many Dalits are in this room? Dekhiye; ye maza dekhiye. How many OBCs are in this room? Raise your hands,” the Wayanad MP told reporters.
Reportedly, no hands were raised among the journalists, except for a lone cameraperson who did so. Gandhi promptly clarified, “I am not talking about you,” pointing at the cameraperson. He continued, “I am talking about these people.”
“So this is the question. How many Dalits, OBCs, and tribals are in India’s institutions? That is the question we are asking about institutions, wealth, assets, and population,” Gandhi concluded, firmly justifying his party’s demand for a nationwide caste census.
The issue of a nationwide caste census has been a contentious one, with various political parties and leaders expressing differing views on its necessity and feasibility. Rahul Gandhi’s latest statements have brought the debate back into the spotlight and added fuel to the ongoing discussion on this crucial matter.