Senior Congress Leader Anand Sharma Opposes Rahul Gandhi’s Call For Caste-Based Census - Vibes Of India

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Senior Congress Leader Anand Sharma Opposes Rahul Gandhi’s Call For Caste-Based Census

| Updated: March 21, 2024 17:59

In a jolt to the Congress, senior party leader Anand Sharma has opposed former party chief Rahul Gandhi’s call for caste-based census, saying the party never engaged in nor endorsed identity politics. Sharma, who is a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), expressed his displeasure in a letter to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge.

Sharma said that the demand for caste census could be misconstrued as disrespecting the legacy of former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

Gandhi is looking to make caste census as a major poll plank for the Lok Sabha elections, with some experts seeing it as an attempt to counter the BJP’s “Hindutva pitch”. He has promised a nationwide caste census if the Opposition bloc INDIA is voted to power.

To drive home the Congress’ stand on caste, he recalled Indira Gandhi’s 1980 slogan of “Na jaat par na paat par, mohar lagegi Haath par”.

Sharma also quoted from Rajiv Gandhi’s 1990 speech in the Lok Sabha, where the former PM said, “We have problems if caste is defined to enshrine casteism in our country. We have problems if casteism is going to be made a factor for Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies. The Congress cannot stand by and watch this nation being divided.”

Sharma, who served as Minister of Commerce and Industry from May 2009 to May 2014, said a caste census cannot be a panacea nor a solution for unemployment and prevailing inequalities.

“As a party with inclusive approach, the Congress should strive to reclaim its role as builder of national consensus and build a harmonious society,” he said in his letter.

Though caste is a reality in Indian society, Congress has never engaged in nor endorsed identity politics, Sharma said. “That is detrimental to democracy in a society with a rich diversity or region, religion, caste, and ethnicity,” he said in his statement.

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