Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday asked for a show of hands from journalists at a press conference to know how many of them were Dalits and OBCs to make a point that people from weaker sections were not getting their share in the country’s assets and institutions.
Addressing the press conference after a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), Gandhi said the party’s working committee has taken a “historic decision” unanimously to support the idea of a nationwide caste census, asserting that it is a “powerful step” for the emancipation of the poor.
In response to a question, Gandhi said the Congress is asking what is the share of Dalits, tribals and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in the country’s assets and institutions.
“I will ask you how many Dalits are there in this room, look at this, how many OBCs are there in the room, raise their hands and see…there’s a cameraman, I am not talking about you, I am talking about you (gesturing towards journalists),” the former Congress chief said.
“This is the question, how many Dalits, tribals and OBCs are there in institutions, what is their wealth, share in assets and their population,” he said.
He also slammed the BJP’s criticism of the Congress over its caste census demand and said, “We are asking how many poor people are there in the country. So this (BJP criticism) is just about distraction.”
Flanked by the party’s chief ministers in four states, Gandhi also said the decision of the CWC to support a caste census is a “very progressive” and “powerful” step for the emancipation of poor people.
Talking about the idea of caste census, the former Congress chief said this ‘X-ray’ is needed for a new paradigm and development in the country.