Congress distances itself from Sam Pitroda’s remarks; BJP hits back | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Congress distances itself from Sam Pitroda’s remarks; BJP hits back

Apr 24, 2024 02:18 PM IST

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said that Pitroda expresses his opinions freely on issues and sometimes they don’t reflect the party’s position.

The Congress party on Wednesday distanced itself from Indian Overseas Congress chairman Sam Pitroda’s comments on “inheritance tax” saying that the former’s views does not reflect the position of the Indian National Congress.

A video of Pitroda had surfaced on social media platforms where he talked about inheritance tax in America. (File photo)
A video of Pitroda had surfaced on social media platforms where he talked about inheritance tax in America. (File photo)

Jairam Ramesh, general secretary in-charge Communications, Indian National Congress, in a post on X (formerly Twitter) said, “Sam Pitroda has been a mentor, friend, philosopher, and guide to many across the world, including me. He has made numerous, enduring contributions to India’s developments. He is President of the Indian Overseas Congress.”

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Also Read | Sam Pitroda's ‘inheritance tax’ remark: PM Modi, Amit Shah attack Congress, Mallikarjun Kharge clarifies

Ramesh added that Pitroda expresses his opinions freely on issues and sometimes they don’t reflect the party’s position.

“Mr Pitroda expresses his opinions freely on issues he feels strongly about. Surely, in a democracy an individual is at liberty to discuss, express, and debate his personal views. This does not mean that Mr. Pitroda’s views always reflect the position of the Indian National Congress. Many times, they do not. Sensationalising his comments now and tearing them out of context are deliberate and desperate attempts at diverting attention away from Mr. Narendra Modi’s malicious and mischievous election campaign; that is anchored ONLY in lies and more lies”, he wrote.

Also Read | What is US inheritance law quoted by Sam Pitroda? US federal govt doesn't have one, only 6 states impose it

A video of Pitroda had surfaced on social media platforms on Wednesday where he talked about inheritance tax in America.

The video triggered an outrage with the members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party attacking the Congress with Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling out the party saying that “dangerous intentions of the Congress Party are now being exposed”.

Also Read | Row over Sam Pitroda’s deleted X post on Nehru-Ambedkar: What it said

“The advisor of the prince of the Congress royal family had earlier said that the middle class should be taxed more. Now they have gone further ahead. Now the Congress is saying that it will impose an Inheritance Tax and tax the inheritance received by people from their parents”, Modi said while addressing a poll rally at Chhattisgarh’s Surguja.

“Your children will not get the wealth that you accumulate through your hard work, rather the claws of the Congress government will snatch it away from you. That means Congress’s mantra is - Congress’s loot during life and even after life. As long as you live, Congress will hit you with higher taxes” Modi said.

In the video available on social media, Pitroda was heard saying, “... In America, there is an inheritance tax. So, if let’s say, one has $100 million worth of wealth and when he dies, he can only transfer probably 45 per cent to his children, 55 per cent is grabbed by the government. That’s an interesting law. It says you in your generation, made wealth and you are leaving now, you must leave your wealth for the public, not all of it, half of it, which to me sounds fair. In India, you don’t have that. If somebody is worth 10 billion and he dies, his children get 10 billion and the public gets nothing... So, these are the kinds of issues people will have to debate and discuss.”

“I don’t know what the conclusion would be at the end of the day but when we talk about redistributing wealth, we are talking about new policies and new programs that are in the interest of the people and not in the interest of the super-rich only,” he said.

Soon after his comments went viral, BJP’s information technology cell chief Amit Malviya took to X and said, “Congress has decided to destroy India. Now, Sam Pitroda advocates 50% inheritance tax for wealth redistribution. This means 50% of whatever we build, with all our hard work and enterprise, will be taken away. 50%, besides all the tax we pay, which too will go up, if the Congress prevails.”

Clarifying his stance, Pitroda, in a series of posts on X said that his remarks were twisted.

“It is unfortunate that what I said as an individual on inheritance tax in the US is twisted by Godi media to divert attention from what lies the PM is spreading about the Congress manifesto. PM’s comments on Mangal Sutra & gold snatching is simply unreal,” he wrote in his X post.

“I mentioned US inheritance tax in the US only as an example in my normal conversation on TV. Can I not mention facts? I said these are the kind of issues people will have to discuss and debate. This has nothing to do with the policy of any party including congress… Who said 55% will be taken away? Who said something like this should be done in India? Why is BJP and the media in panic?” he added.

Union home minister Amit Shah also criticised the Congress party after Pitroda’s comments.

“After Sam Pitroda’s remark, Congress party is completely exposed. First of all, mention of ‘survey’ in their manifesto, Manmohan Singh’s old statement which is Congress’ legacy - that minorities have the first right over resources of the country, and now Sam Pitroda’s remark citing the US that there should be deliberations on the distribution of wealth... Now when PM Modi raised this issue, Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and the entire Congress party are on the backfoot that it was never their motive. But today, Sam Pitroda’s statement has made Congress’ motive clear before the country”, he was quoted to as saying by news agency ANI.

“They want to survey the private property of the people of the country, put it in government property and distribute it as per decision during UPA’s regime. Congress should either withdraw it from their manifesto or accept that it is indeed their intention...I want people to take Sam Pitroda’s statement seriously. Their intention is now in the open, its cognisance should be taken by people...”, he added.

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