Who is Congress's Sam Pitroda, leader behind ‘inheritance tax’ remark? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Who is Congress's Sam Pitroda, leader behind ‘inheritance tax’ remark?

By, New Delhi
Apr 24, 2024 02:27 PM IST

During the previous 2019 Lok Sabha polls too, Pitroda stoked a huge controversy with his “hua toh hua” remark on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Congress leader Sam Pitroda has courted another controversy, and handed ammunition to the ruling BJP this Lok Sabha election season, with his “inheritance tax" statement.

Sam Pitroda with Rahul Gandhi (File Photo)
Sam Pitroda with Rahul Gandhi (File Photo)

Though both Pitroda and the Congress have clarified that this was his “individual opinion,” the row is unlikely to die anytime soon.

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Who is Sam Pitroda?

(1.) Pitroda leads the Congress party's overseas wing, the Indian Overseas Congress, a group of “concerned, committed, diverse, capable, and courageous Overseas Indians and Friends of India.”

(2.) His personal website describes him as an “internationally-respected telecom entrepreneur, investor, development thinker, and policy maker.” He has spent 50 years in the IT sector, as per the website.

(3.) Pitroda has worked with three Prime Ministers, all from the grand old party: Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, and most recently, Dr Manmohan Singh, under whom he headed (2005-2009) the National Knowledge Commission, a government think-tank.

(4.) Under Rajiv Gandhi, he led as many as six technology missions (telecommunications, water, literacy, immunisation, dairy production, and oil seeds). He now works closely with ex-Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Rajiv's son, and Indira's grandson.

(5.) Pitroda, 81, is also the Founding Chairman of five NGOs, including India Food Bank, the Global Knowledge Initiative, and the Institute of Transdisciplinary Health. A resident of Chicago with his wife, he also started several companies in the United States.

“Hua toh hua” controversy

During the previous Lok Sabha polls too, when Rahul Gandhi was the Congress president, Pitroda stoked a huge controversy with his “hua toh hua” remark on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, which broke out after then PM Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards. Over the years, party leaders have been accused of instigating mobs.

“Ab kya hai 1984 ka? Aapne kya kiya 5 saal mein, uski baat kariye. 1984 mein hua toh hua. Aapne kya kiya?” (Why talk about 1984 now? Talk about what you (Modi government) did in these five years (2014-2019). Whatever happened in 1984 is history now. What work did you do?" Pitroda had said.

That remark is repeatedly invoked by BJP leaders to target the Congress.

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