Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, addressing a public rally in Ranchi during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, pledged a nationwide caste census and the removal of the 50% cap on reservations if the INDIA bloc secures victory in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. Gandhi emphasized the marginalized status of Dalits, tribals, and Other Backward Classes (OBCs), labeling them as "bonded labourers" with limited representation in major institutions such as companies, hospitals, schools, colleges, and courts.
Stressing the need for a comprehensive caste census, Gandhi asserted that the first step under an INDIA government would be to conduct this census. Addressing the existing reservation norms, he promised the removal of the 50% cap on reservations to ensure the rights of Dalits, tribals, and OBCs.
"If the INDIA bloc comes to power, it will discard the 50% cap on reservation, ensuring that Dalits, tribals, and OBCs reclaim their rights," stated Gandhi, assuring that there would be no reduction in the reservation for these communities. He highlighted the importance of addressing social and economic injustices faced by backward sections of society.
Turning his attention to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Gandhi accused him of opposing the idea of a caste census. He criticized Modi's contradictory statements, citing instances where Modi claimed to be an OBC but dismissed the need for a caste census by simplifying society into rich and poor categories.
In addition to the focus on social justice, Gandhi criticized the Narendra Modi-led government for allegedly "slowly killing" Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) by transferring them to the Adani Group. He specifically mentioned the Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) and accused the government of intending to privatize it.
"Narendra Modi and his government are gradually dismantling the PSUs...They want to privatize it," claimed Gandhi, asserting that PSUs like BHEL, HAL, and HEC are being handed over to the Adani Group. He vowed that the Congress would resist associating Adani's name with HEC, emphasizing the importance of these institutions as the country's capital, not the capital of any industrialist.
(With Agency Inputs)