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BJP wants to keep OBC's power in the hands of Adani: Rahul Gandhi

'Representation was low during Congress' rule, and that was wrong; representation is low under BJP, which is also wrong', says Congress leader Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi

BS Web Team New Delhi

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During a press conference in New Delhi on Friday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi spoke with the media to discuss the recent historic passing of the Women's Reservation Bill, the need for caste census, and representation in the government. He also criticised the central government for keeping power away from the people and favouring Adani by not increasing Other Backward Classes (OBC) representation in the government.
The Congress leader began by reiterating his and his party's full support for the Women's Reservation Bill, stating while it was a proud moment for the country, upon reading the fine print, Gandhi took two issues in the footnotes. One was the delimitation clause, and the second was the census clause. He added that this could delay the implementation by ten years.
He said, "We are in full support of the bill; we do not agree with the two footnotes."
Gandhi accused the central government of tokenism, saying that they placed many OBC candidates as members of parliaments (MPs). Still, they did not have any real power in the country as they were not involved in making laws or contributing to the union budget. He also pointed out that while Schedule Tribes (ST) and Schedule Classes (SC) were included in the Bill, there was no mention of OBC.
He said that when looking at how many of the senior most officers in India belonged to OBC communities, he found only three out of the appointed 90. This means that members of the OBC community control only five per cent of the budget. If tribal communities were to be added to this equation, they would make up less than six per cent of the budget. 
"Are the OBCs five per cent of India?" he questioned. Gandhi added that the only way to answer this was to conduct a caste census.
Gandhi claimed, "We have the data; the government has already done the census and has the data. I don't know why they are not revealing the data."
When questioned by members of the media on why the Congress had not done a caste census, he responded, "We did the caste census; we did not release it at the time. We should have released it at the time, and it should be released now."
Members of the media also asked why Congress did not have a clause of tribal and OBC representation in the women's quota bill introduced under their rule, Rahul Gandhi stated that this was a regret the party had.
He said, "Representation was low during Congress' rule, and that was wrong; representation is low under BJP, which is also wrong." He added that the Congress had "100 per cent regret that we did not include quota in our bill." 
He accused the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government of using the introduction of the women's quota bill as a distraction. 
Reiterating that while it was an important law, he stated, "The BJP came up with the idea of the Special Session, and we appreciated the idea." However, he added that the BJP was always trying to distract from two issues: Adani and caste census.
He claimed that the BJP wanted to withhold power from the OBC and "keep it in the hands of Adani." He added that whenever he mentioned Adani or caste census, "BJP jumps".
Gandhi concluded his address by promising, "The day our party comes into power, caste census will be done."

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First Published: Sep 22 2023 | 1:39 PM IST

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