Congress govt's first decisions will be caste census, MSP law: Rahul Gandhi in Madhya Pradesh

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra', in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh, Wednesday, March 6, 2024.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi during the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra', in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh, Wednesday, March 6, 2024.

Badnawar (MP) | Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said conducting a caste census and providing legally guaranteed Minimum Support Price for crops will be the first two decisions of the Congress government after coming to power.

Taking part in the ongoing Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra along with Gandhi in tribal-dominated Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre of not wanting the names of purchasers of electoral bonds to be disclosed.

In a change in the yatra's schedule, it will enter Rajasthan on Thursday instead of Wednesday evening, a party leader informed.

Speaking in Badnawar town, Rahul Gandhi said caste census would be a revolutionary step, "as big as the green revolution and white revolution".

"The moment we come to power at the Centre, we will conduct this exercise. The second thing we will do is to provide a legal guarantee for MSP," he said.

A caste census will enumerate the exact population of Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and Backward Classes, reveal their financial status and representation in various institutions, Gandhi said.

Population of STs in the country is eight per cent, but "if you take the list of top industrialists and managements of top companies, you will not find a single person belonging to this eight per cent group," he claimed .

"Same is the situation in the media. You will not find a single big journalist belonging to backward, Dalit or ST categories. It's the same with TV anchors as well as media owners," he claimed.

Among the top 90 IAS officers who "allocate the entire country's budget", there is not a single tribal person, Gandhi said, adding, "this is called social injustice, and it is happening in every institution."

The country has been captured by "three to four percent of people" and no one else can enter this class, he said.

The only demand of protesting farmers in Haryana and Punjab is MSP, but the BJP government would not agree to it, Gandhi said.

"The BJP government has waived loans of Rs 16 lakh crore of 100 industrialists, which amounts to the MNREGA budget for 24 years. But they don't want to waive farmers' loans," he alleged.

He also mentioned the last year's controversy where a video showed a BJP leader urinating on a tribal person in Sidhi district, and claimed that it reflected the ruling party's attitude towards tribals.

The BJP calls tribals "Vanvasi" (forest dwellers) and not "Adivasi" (indigenous people) because it wants to uproot them from their land, forest and water bodies, the Congress leader alleged.

"We want to work for you as you (tribals) people stood with us and supported us. We will reciprocate and stand with you in your fight for saving water, forests, and land," he added.

Congress president Kharge alleged that the BJP-led Union government did not want the names of purchasers of electoral bonds to come out.

The State Bank of India did not want to disclose the names of `those who gave money (through electoral bonds) to get a clean chit through the Enforcement Directorate,' Kharge claimed.

"Why are you hiding the names?....This means all these people have collected donations by stealing and they want to continue this loot," he said.

The BJP inducts leaders from other parties, Kharge said, adding, "When such leaders are in other parties, the ruling party terms them tainted, but when they join the BJP, they get cleaned up. Home Minister Amit Shah has a big washing machine, and these tainted leaders get cleaned after going through it."

As long as caste system persists in the country, welfare of SCs and STs was not possible, and a caste census was needed to know the economic, educational status of various sections including even the suppressed people of upper castes, he said.

The Congress chief also referred to Shivraj Singh Chouhan's reported statement at Gulbarga in Karnataka that Kharge and Rahul Gandhi were working to destroy the Congress.

"I want to ask him, why he was removed (from the MP chief minister's post) and why (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi did not allow him to come close," Kharge said.

Later, Rahul Gandhi took part in a roadshow in Ratlam and Sailana as part of the yatra on its last day in Madhya Pradesh, and spoke to people standing on a jeep.

The yatra was scheduled to proceed towards Rajasthan in the evening, but there was a change in the schedule and Gandhi will stay in Sailana for the night and enter Rajasthan on Thursday, state Congress media cell head K K Mishra told PTI.

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