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If voted to power, Congress will conduct caste and economic survey: Rahul Gandhi

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PATAN (GUJARAT), April 29: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday said if his party is voted to power, it would conduct a nation-wide caste and economic survey on priority to enhance participation of Dalits, tribals, poor for the general category and OBCs.

Gandhi, who was addressing a poll rally in Patan town of north Gujarat in support of the party’s Lok Sabha candidate Chandanji Thakor, also said the BJP and RSS planned to change the Constitution after retaining power.

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“Ninety per cent of the country’s population comprises SCs, STs and OBCs, but you will not find their representation in the corporate, media (sectors), private hospitals, private universities or as bureaucrats in government. We will first do a caste survey and economic survey after coming to power,” he said.

These communities are working as farmers, labourers, small traders or are simply unemployed, he said, adding that only three of the 90 IAS officers at the helm of affairs at the Centre are from the backward classes, and they too have been given insignificant posts.

Accusing the BJP of bringing about wealth inequality in the country during its 10-year rule, Gandhi said just 22 individuals possess as much wealth as 70 per cent of the population.

“Our solution is that the Congress will first conduct a caste census and economic survey after coming to power to find out the exact population of Dalits, OBCs, tribals as well as the poor from general category. Then a survey will be held to find out their participation in media, government sectors, private colleges and universities etc and also financial status,” he said.

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After this exercise, India will have a fair idea of everyone’s proportion in population, their participation details, money in their hands and institutions they are working in, Gandhi claimed.

Hitting out at the RSS and BJP, he said the ruling dispensation is against the system of reservations and it also wants to change the Constitution, which is the basis on which people received their rights, facilities like education, health care, water, as well as rights.

“BJP leaders are saying they will change the Constitution, which protects the poor and the downtrodden. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants only 22-25 people to control all wealth, power and natural resources. That is what happened in their 10-year rule,” Gandhi said.

“They waived Rs 16 lakh crore of those 22-25 persons but refused to write off loans taken by farmers. Just 1 per cent population in India controls 40 per cent wealth. The BJP wants to shut schemes which are beneficial to farmers, the poor and downtrodden,” he added.

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The Congress believes in distributing wealth and power without any injustice, he said, adding that reservation guarantees participation of Dalits, poor, tribals and the backward classes.

Privatisation and the Agnipath-Agniveer military recruitment scheme are two tools of this government to end reservation, and the Congress will ensure the Agniveer scheme is scrapped when it comes to power, Gandhi asserted.

“Agniveer scheme is an insult to our soldiers. It was brought in by the PM. The Army never wanted it. We will scrap it, protect each soldier and given them pension,” he asserted.

The situation of farmers is desperate, inflation and unemployment are at record levels but the media will only show Modi, billionaires and their wedding ceremonies and Bollywood stars and celebrities, Gandhi claimed.

“After the Congress comes to power, we will waive farm loans, give legal status to MSP, give Rs 1 lakh per year to poor women under the Mahalakshmi scheme and a yearly stipend of Rs 1 lakh to graduates and diploma holders enrolled for apprenticeship in private and government sectors,” Gandhi announced.

On the occasion, Gandhi hailed Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Gohil, the last ruler of Bhavnagar princely state, who as per the official records, was the first to merge his state with the Union of India on the request of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. (PTI)








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