Chhattisgarh: Rahul Gandhi vows caste census 'within 2 hours' of coming to power

By Chicago 6 Min Read

Chhattisgarh Assembly Election 2023: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visited poll-bound Chhattisgarh on Saturday and announced certain poll promises, which include free education till post-graduation, and ₹4,000 for ‘tendu’ collectors. 

Congress MP from Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi, addressed election rallies in the Bhanupratappur and Farsgaon towns in the Naxal-hit Bastar division. 

Rahul Gandhi promised that caste census will be conducted in the country if Congress is voted to power in the Lok Sabha. He added the census will commence within two hours of Congress assuming power in Lok Sabha.

Rahul Gandhi asked if Prime Minister Narendra Modi brings up ‘OBC’ (other backward class) in his speeches, then “why he is scared of a caste census”.

“When the Congress-led UPA government was in power, it had carried out a caste census to ascertain the types of castes and sub-castes residing in the country and their population but PM Modi and BJP didn’t reveal its report and kept it hidden,” he said.

“We are going to take a major step for you which we call ‘KG to PG’. From KG (kindergarten) to PG (post-graduation), free education will be provided in government institutions to students (if Congress retains power in the state). They will not have to pay a single penny,” Rahul Gandhi said.

The two seats are among the 20 constituencies that will go to polls on November 7 in the first phase of the Chhattisgarh election. The second phase will be held on November 17.

Meanwhile, BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad says, “Rahul Gandhi doesn’t do any homework. Whatever chit he will be given, he will hold it…nowadays, a chit of caste census has been given to him. I want to ask Rahul Gandhi, will there be a caste census inside your family?”

“Competition inside your family is increasing, and your workers are taking your sister everywhere now…people know your ability, you are in your position because you’re the son of Rajiv Gandhi and grandson of Indira Gandhi,” the BJP MP said. 

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Rahul Gandhi promised that if Congress forms the government in the state after polls, then tendu leaves collectors will be given ₹4,000 per year under the Rajiv Gandhi Protsahan Yojana. This is being seen as a major announcement for the tribal-dominated Bastar region where a large number of tribals and forest dwellers are associated with tendu leaf collection.

Pitching for a caste census, Rahul Gandhi said, “Narendra Modi ji uses ‘OBC’ word in every speech and he identified himself as an OBC but why is he scared of the caste census? OBCs have to become aware as they are being ditched.”

Rahul Gandhi also announced that the Congress would conduct a caste census in the country if it is voted to power in Delhi (at the Centre). “We have already made this promise for Chhattisgarh,” he said.

“We had promised to give ₹2,500 per quintal for paddy to farmers and now they are getting ₹2,640 per quintal as our intention is clear. After some period it will become ₹3,000 per quintal,” he added.

Objecting to the use of ‘vanvasi’ in place of ‘Adivasi’ for tribals, Rahul Gandhi said its use by the BJP is an insult to Adivasis and an attack on their culture, history and language.

“We call you Adivasi and they (BJP) call you vanvasi. There is a huge difference between the two words. Adivasis are original owners of Hindustan. They were the first owners of the land, water, and forests of the country and have first rights over them,” he said.


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Updated: 28 Oct 2023, 09:46 PM IST

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