Sam Pitroda not new to controversy: 5 times Congress leader's statements stirred up a storm | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Sam Pitroda not new to controversy: 5 times Congress leader's statements stirred up a storm

May 08, 2024 05:07 PM IST

Sam Pitroda once again stirred controversy with a racist remark, creating fresh trouble for Congress and allowing the BJP to criticise the party.

Sam Pitroda, chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress, is no stranger to controversies. Even before the Congress could douse the flames from the "inheritance tax" remarks row, Sam Pitroda has again ignited a firestorm while speaking on the diversity of India, referring to how people in the South “look like Africans and those in the East look like Chinese and those in the East look like Arab”.

Sam Pitroda, chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress.
Sam Pitroda, chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress.

In the latest controversial remark, Sam Pitroda, during an interview with The Statesman, said the people of India have “survived 75 years in a very happy environment where people could live together leaving a few fights here and there”. He then went on to say, while reflecting upon the democracy in India, said, “We could hold together a country as diverse as India – where people on East look like Chinese, people on West look like Arab, people on North look like maybe White and people in South look like Africa. It doesn't matter. We are all brothers and sisters.”

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He added that the people of India respect different languages, religions, food and customs, which vary from region to region. "That's the India that I believe in, where everybody has a place and everybody compromises a little bit," Sam Pitroda said.

While the Congress distanced itself from Sam Pitroda's latest comments saying they were “unfortunate and unacceptable”, several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders took the opportunity to attack him, describing him as a “racist”.

5 times Sam Pitroda stroke controversy

  1. Inheritance tax: Last month, Sam Pitroda stoked a controversy while speaking about the concept of inheritance tax prevailing in America and said these are issues that need to be discussed. "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 had said. After the comments snowballed into a controversy Pitroda sought to downplay the issue saying he had only cited inheritance tax in the US as an example.
  2. Ram Mandir controversy: In June 2023, amid anticipation for the grand opening of the Ram Mandir, Sam Pitroda sparked controversy by asserting that temples wouldn't address India's pressing issues such as unemployment, inflation, education, and health. His remarks provided the BJP with ammunition to criticise the Congress, emphasising the prioritisation of temple discourse over socio-economic concerns.
  3. 1984 anti-Sikh riots: In May 2019, Sam Pitroda drew ire by dismissively remarking "hua to hua" (so what) when questioned about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. He redirected the discussion to the incumbent government's failures to fulfill promises, deflecting accountability for the tragic events of 1984.
  4. Pulwama attack remarks: During the aftermath of the Pulwama attack in February 2019, Sam Pitroda ignited controversy by questioning the efficacy of retaliatory airstrikes conducted by the Indian Air Force on Balakot. His remarks stirred debate on India's response to terrorist incidents and the appropriate diplomatic approach to such crises.
  5. Nehru vs Ambedkar on Constitution: Referencing an article by Sudheendra Kulkarni, Sam Pitroda asserted in a social media post that Jawaharlal Nehru contributed more significantly than BR Ambedkar to the framing of the Constitution. His statement sparked debate and was later retracted, highlighting the sensitive nature of discussions regarding the Constitution's architects.

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