Caste census an X-ray of country; we will force Centre to conduct it: Rahul Gandhi in Madhya Pradesh


BEOHARI: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday termed the caste census an ”X-ray” of the country that will throw light on the condition of OBCs, Dalits and tribals who are ”injured”, and said his party would force the Centre to conduct this exercise ”come what may”.

He also accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of not speaking on the issue of caste census. Addressing a public meeting at Beohari in Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh, a day after the dates for the state assembly polls were announced, Gandhi said BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh is a ”laboratory of BJP and RSS”.

”Caste census is an X-ray of the country. Tribals, Dalits, and OBCs of the country are injured. Let us check…It will clear the picture”, he said.

”We will force the Central government to conduct a caste census, come what may, to know the truth about the condition of OBCs, Dalits and tribals in the country. Our governments in Rajasthan, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh have initiated a process for it,” Gandhi added.

He said the Congress was talking about caste census because people belonging to scheduled caste, OBCs and tribals should get their due rights. ”After coming to power, the caste census will also be conducted in Madhya Pradesh because the Congress wants to give the due rights to tribals and OBCs,” Gandhi added.

He said the Congress ”challenged” PM Narendra Modi to release the data of the caste census done by Congress, but instead of talking about it, he talks about Pakistan, Afghanistan and the South. ”Speak on caste census,” Gandhi added.

The former Congress president claimed only 90 top officers run the country and control the budget but only three of them belong to the OBC (Other Backward Classes) category. ”These (OBC) officers control just five per cent of the budget,” he claimed.

He also alleged that tribal officers even don’t make decisions of ”Re 1 or 25 paisa”. ”They make decisions about only 10 paisa”. Gandhi asked the gathering why OBC youths are unemployed. Answering the question himself, he said, ”Because you (OBC) are not running the government of Hindustan and not making decisions”.

Gandhi said a book written by Bharatiya Janata Party veteran L K Advani mentioned that Madhya Pradesh, not Gujarat, was the ”laboratory” of the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He used the ”laboratory” analogy to target the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh over ”several scams”.

”Madhya Pradesh is a laboratory of several scams including (offering) medical treatment to deceased persons, Vyapam, and mid-day meal. Atrocities are committed against tribals and women, among others,” Gandhi alleged. He said they (the BJP government) didn’t even spare Lord Shiva and committed irregularities in the development of Mahakal Lok, a corridor at the famous Lord Mahakal temple in Ujjain.

”(On an average), three farmers commit suicide daily (in MP); tribals are insulted. A BJP leader urinated on a tribal while the government posts were being sold,” Gandhi alleged. The Congress leader further claimed that PM Modi used to describe tribals as “vanvasis” but he (Gandhi) has forced him to use the word “Adivasi”.

”There is a difference between the words Adivasi and Vanvasi. Adivasi means those who come to Hindustan first and who are owners of this land while Vanvasis are those living in the forest,” Gandhi said and questioned the ”intention” behind using the word ”vanvasi”.

He alleged rotten foodgrain was given to tribals in Madhya Pradesh during the COVID-19 pandemic. ”The Congress had introduced PESA and Forest Rights Act, under which only the Gram Sabha can take a decision about giving the land but the BJP said that there was no need to seek permission,” Gandhi said.

He alleged that 3.5 lakh pattas given to tribals were cancelled in Madhya Pradesh and their land was snatched by evicting them using force. Gandhi said he had asked journalists attending a press conference (on Monday) to know who among them were OBCs, tribals, and Dalits.

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”But none of the 200-300 people present there raised their hands. It is a question about the participation of OBC youths,” he said.

Gandhi said if Congress is voted to power in MP, women will get Rs 1,500 per month in their bank accounts. ”LPG cylinders will be made available at Rs 500 while electricity up to 100 units will be free. Wages of labourers engaged in plucking tendu patta will be increased to Rs 4,000,” he added.

Polling for all 230 seats in MP will be held in a single phase on November 17. The Congress is pitching the caste census as its main poll plank in a bid to attract OBC voters. During his visit to Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, PM Modi on Monday said the opposition party has played with the emotions of the poor and divided the country on caste lines for six decades.


Source: Press Trust of India


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