In PM Modi vs Rahul Gandhi over caste census, recall of Manmohan's 2006 'Muslim minority' remark
The Nitish Kumar government on Monday revealed the findings of the caste-based census in Bihar that has sent political parties back to the drawing board.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday invoked ex-PM Manmohan Singh to attack Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over the latter's "greater the population, greater the rights" remark on the Bihar caste census. Addressing a rally in Chhattisgarh, PM Modi said Gandhi's recent remark contradicted Congress veteran Singh's famous 2006 remark that minorities must have the “first claim” on the country’s resources.
"Since yesterday, Congress leaders have been saying, 'jitni aabadi utna haq'' (greater the population, greater the rights)". I was wondering what the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be thinking. He used to say that the minority, particularly Muslims, has the first right to the country's resources... But now Congress is saying that the population of the community will decide who will have the first right to the country's resources. So now do they (Congress) want to decrease the rights of the minority? Do they want to remove the minorities? So, should the Hindus, who have the largest population, come forward and take all their rights?” PM Modi said, reported ANI.
The Nitish Kumar government on Monday revealed the findings of the caste-based census in Bihar that has sent political parties back to the drawing board in view of next year's general elections. The survey revealed that only 15.52 percent people of Bihar belonged to the general category. The extremely backward class comprise 36.01 percent of the total population, other backward class 27 percent, the Scheduled Castes 19.65 percent and the Scheduled Tribes 1.68 percent.
The data also said that 81.99 percent of the state's population was Hindu, 17.7 percent Muslim.
The members of the opposition block, INDIA alliance, have demanded that the Bihar caste census model be replicated across the country.
Reacting to the Bihar census, Gandhi, a vociferous critic of Prime Minister Modi and his government's policies, demanded a nationwide caste census. To drive home his point, Gandhi claimed out of the 90 Government of India secretaries, only 3 belonged to the other backward class.
"The caste census of Bihar has revealed that OBC, SC, ST are 84% there. Out of 90 secretaries of the Central government, only 3 are OBC, who handle only 5% of India's budget! Therefore, it is important to know the caste statistics of India. The greater the population, the greater the rights – this is our pledge," Rahul Gandhi posted on X (formerly Twitter).
In a rally on Monday, PM Modi accused the Congress of attempting to divide the country on the lines of caste.
PM Modi today sought to neutralise the opposition's caste census push saying those afflicted with poverty form the biggest social group in the country.
"People of the Congress say ‘jitni aabadi, utna haq’. I say if there is biggest population in the country, it is of the poor. Poor are the biggest population for me and their welfare is my objective,” he said.
Singh, who was the prime minister in 2006, had said that innovative plans must be devised for minorities, particularly Muslims, to make the economic growth more equitable.
"We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably the fruits of development. They must have the first claim on resources," Singh had said in his address at the 52nd meeting of the National Development Council (NDC).
With inputs from ANI