Sam Pitroda resigns from Indian Overseas Congress post amid racist remark row | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Sam Pitroda resigns from Indian Overseas Congress post amid racist remark row

May 09, 2024 12:37 AM IST

Sam Pitroda resigned from the post of the chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress amid a major row over his racist comment.

Sam Pitroda has decided to step down as the chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress and the decision has been accepted by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, party general secretary Jairam Ramesh announced adding that the decision was taken on his own accord. The decision came after his racist comment on how Indians from different parts of the country look created a major political controversy amid the ongoing Lok Sabha election – with Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemning him for his statement.

Sam Pitroda steps down as Indian Overseas Congress chairman in the wake of a major political row over his statement.
Sam Pitroda steps down as Indian Overseas Congress chairman in the wake of a major political row over his statement.

Sam Pitroda, now based in the United States, was Rajiv Gandhi's advisor when Rajiv was the prime minister. After UPA's win in the 2004 election, Sam Pitroda was invited by then prime minister Manmohan Singh to head the National Knowledge Commission of India. In 2009, he became an advisor to Manmohan Singh on public information infrastructure.

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Sam Pitroda is not new to controversies but this time his flub went beyond any damage control as the Congress distanced itself from what he said and called his statement unfortunate.


What Sam Pitroda said

In an interview, Sam Pitroda was talking about how Indians lived together unitedly in the last 75 years because the Congress held the country with so much diversity together. Then elaborating on the differences, he said the people in the east look like the Chinese, West like the Arabs etc. "We could hold the country as diverse as India together. Where people in the east look like the Chinese, people in the west look like the Arabs, people in the north look like, maybe, white and people in the south look like Africans. It does not matter. All of us are brothers and sisters. We respect different languages, different religions, different customs, different food," Pitroda said.

Congress said Sam Pitroda's comment unfortunate

Jairam Ramesh said the analogy that was given by Sam Pitroda to hammer home the subject of unity in diversity is unacceptable, unfortunate and absolutely wrong. "The analogies drawn by Mr. Sam Pitroda in a podcast to illustrate India's diversity are most unfortunate and unacceptable. The Indian National Congress completely dissociates itself from these analogies," Jairam Ramesh said.

Rahul Gandhi's uncle Sam: PM Modi mentions president Murmu

PM Modi -- at his rallies in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh -- said he was angry over what Rahul Gandhi's Sam uncle said on the skin colour of Indians. PM Modi mentioned President Droupadi Murmu and said the Congress opposed her presidential bid because they saw her as an African owing to her dark skin. PM Modi asked if the Congress chief ministers of Telangana and Karnataka would accept the analogy and whether Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin won't snap DMK's ties with the Congress.

Racial comment after inheritance tax row

Sam Pitroda's racial comment came even before the row over his inheritance tax remark could die down. Discussing the Congress manifesto, Sam Pitroda talked about the concept of inheritance tax prevailing in America. "In America, there is an inheritance tax. If one has 100 million USD worth of wealth and when he dies he can only transfer 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," Sam Pitroda said.

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