Thursday, November 30, 2023

Deceptive OBC narrative of Rahul, Rama Rao

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(The author is BJP TS spokesperson)

It’s election season again. How do we know that? It’s easy. Congress party’s scion, Rahul Gandhi, has started talking about social justice. During previous elections, it was about women. As soon as it became apparent that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are bent upon passing the Naari Shakti Vandan Abhiyaan – popularly called the Women’s Reservation Bill – in Parliament, Rahul Gandhi shifted tune.

Rahul is aware that there is no stopping the Modi government from providing reservations for women in legislative bodies at the state and the national levels the moment the NDA government made public its agenda during the last month’s special session of Parliament. Attempts to provide reservation for women to improve their representation in Assemblies and Lok Sabha started almost three decades ago. Time and again, the Congress’ alliance partners – UPA, most of whom regrouped as INDI Alliance recently – blocked progress.

Rahul, unable to digest that credit for passing a historical reform aimed at gender justice will go to Modi and the BJP, dropped women’s cause like a hot potato and picked up the cause of caste-based social justice. During the discussion on the reservation bill, Rahul raised the question of OBC (Other Backward Classes) representation at the secretary level in the Union government’s bureaucracy. Since then, he has been asking for a Caste Census so that every caste can get its due based on its population.

Not to be outdone by the Congress scion, Taraka Rama Rao, scion of the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) in Telangana, declared they were ahead in making the demand for a Caste Census. The scions and their parties contended that the OBCs could not receive their proper share in the country’s resources as there was no concrete data on their numbers; hence, the need for a Caste Census. They blamed Modi and the BJP for not caring about OBCs’ interests. Over the past month, leaders of Congress and BRS have been pushing the narrative that they are the only parties that care about the OBCs.

Those aware of the Congress and BRS’ nature and history were stunned at the audacity of the two scions. It did not go unnoticed that Rahul and Rama Rao belong to dynastic parties headed by forward caste families. It is impossible for an OBC to ever rise to the pinnacle of power in their parties. Not just people from OBC or other castes, but even members of their caste who are not from their families can never wield real power in their parties. A non-family member can only be ‘appointed’ to positions of power by the first families of their parties but can never become powerful.

Except for very brief interregnums, the Prime Ministers during the Congress regimes at the Center were always from the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Sonia Gandhi- Rahul’s mother appointed Manmohan Singh, the last Congress PM. As expected from members of a dynastic party, the Congress leaders unabashedly and repeatedly make two claims to glorify their first family members. Sonia Gandhi ‘sacrificed’ the Prime Ministership and ‘appointed’ Manmohan Singh, and that the Prime Ministership was Rahul’s for the asking.

Similarly, no one in the BRS party believes anyone other than the son of the Chief Minister can succeed him to the presidency of their party or the Chief Ministership when their party is in power. While in the BRS, an OBC becoming the Chief Minister of the State is impossible owing to the regional nature of the party, the same is impossible in the Congress by design. In all the decades the Congress was in power in undivided Andhra Pradesh, no OBC was ever ‘appointed’ to the Chief Ministership. Rahul’s dynasty had absolute control over who became the Chief Minister when their party came to power in the State.

Rahul’s family exercised this power through ‘sealed cover’ appointments, but never did any sealed cover contain the name of an OBC. Forget the top positions in their parties or governments; a cursory look at their election ticket distribution is enough to expose their discrimination against the OBCs.

On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party stands in complete contrast to these dynastic parties. Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister not because someone ‘appointed’ him to the position but because of his sheer hard work, commitment, and merit. It is the democratic nature of the BJP and its ‘Sabka Saath’ philosophy that provides an environment in which every karyakarta gets equal opportunity.

As for the claims of Rahul, Rama Rao, and their parties – the Congress and the BRS – the more they talk about the OBCs, the more the voters are reminded of their hypocrisy. Describing the likes of Rahul and Rama Rao, Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”

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