Mumbai: Terming the show cause notice issued to him as unfounded, a great joke and one that which goes against the democratic spirit of the party, former Congress MLA and Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) parliamentary board member, Dr Ashish Deshmukh has argued that if the party continues to neglect the Other Backward Classes (OBC) community then its electoral fate is sealed.
In a lengthy reply sent to former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and Chairman of the Disciplinary Action Committee of the MPCC to the show cause notice issued to him on April 7, the former Congress MLA from Nagpur argued that he had been served with the notice without any substantial reason.
He argued that he had suggested to Rahul Gandhi to apologize to the OBC community across the nation. “This needs to be explained and understood with context to derive the right conclusion. The context of this suggestion was his statement referring to persons with ‘Modi’ surname following which he was awarded 2 years sentence by the court and his membership of Parliament terminated”, said Dr Ashish Deshmukh.
The former Congress MLA further argued, “This statement of Rahul Gandhi is being used as if he has insulted the entire OBC community. Whether we agree with this interpretation or not is altogether a different point. However, my suggestion to Rahul Gandhi was in the interest of the party. I only meant that, if at all there is any sentiment against Congress in the OBC community, we should apologize and put an end to the matter.”
Dr Ashish Deshmukh further added, “This suggestion of mine came on the background of the fact that OBCs constitute 54% of the total population of India. Congress has been a party which is always supported by OBCs. If this community is hurt, what is wrong in apologizing? Rahul Gandhi had apologized unconditionally to the Supreme Court in May-2019 in the Rafale case. He had also extended an apology for wrongfully attributing the ‘chowkidar chor hai’ jibe.”
The former Congress MLA from Vidarbha further stated, “I suggested the same to Rahul Gandhi to put an end to the matter. Because I know that OBCs must be, in their entirety as far as possible, brought into Congress fold again to strengthen the party. Congress boasts of being a ‘Democratic Party’ and its leaders issue show cause notice for democratic suggestion! This is a great joke.”
“Congress has numerous OBC leaders in Maharashtra and other states too. My question is what are they doing for OBCs? What are they doing to pacify the community or to deliver them their rightful share? Unfortunately, nothing. They are still, when the party is going through a critical phase, enjoying their petty politics, settling intra-party scores and weakening the Congress with their dynastic style of functioning. Their prolonged silence and dormancy speak more than their occasional words and actions like show cause notice which carries no meaning”, remarked Dr Ashish Deshmukh.
Projecting himself as the champion of the OBC cause, the former Congress MLA argued that he was committed to the OBC community’s rights, its development and welfare. Deshmukh stated that he had been doing my bit for the same. I know the plight of this biggest part of our demography and I always feel duty-bound to voice its issues before the public. Issuing a dare to the Congress leaders, he urged them to look at other national and regional parties.
Dr Ashish Deshmukh pointed out that the BJP has planned an OBC outreach programme and their Governments at the Centre and in states are implementing multiple schemes for the OBCs. On the other hand, Congress does not seem to have any concern for the OBCs and it is painful to see that a democratically made pragmatic suggestion is taken otherwise, he added.
“There is no exigency to explain my statement about ‘khoka’ related to MPCC President (Nana Patole). However, I leave it to Maharashtra Congress leaders to interpret in their own ways like they did about my suggestion to Rahul Gandhi”, adds Dr Ashish Deshmukh.
The former Congress MLA further reiterated that, if Congress goes on neglecting the OBC community, its fate is sealed. “Rather than issuing such baseless show cause notices, I advise Maharashtra Congress leaders to use their mind, words and actions in the interest of OBCs which will automatically cater to the interest of the party”, remarked Dr Ashish Deshmukh.
Arguing that his statements have been misinterpreted to target him as he has been vocal for the welfare of the OBCs in general along with the party and party workers too. Alleging that all this is a part of a larger conspiracy against him, as he has been rightfully questioning leaders for their style of functioning. By issuing an unfounded notice, MPCC has insulted democratic spirit that Congress has known for more than a century. But everyone should mind that he was undeterred and determined, added Dr Ashish Deshmukh.