Rahul Gandhi advocates for caste survey, promises to abolish Agniveer scheme

The entire system was bypassed and the decision taken by the Prime Minister's Office, without the Army being asked, the Congress leader said

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses a public meeting in Pune on 3 May (photo: PTI)
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addresses a public meeting in Pune on 3 May (photo: PTI)


Congress leader Rahul Gandhi once again advocated for a caste survey and an economic review to ascertain who possesses how much wealth and asserted that this will be the first task of the INDIA bloc if it is voted to power.

Addressing students at "Nyay Manch - Ab India Bolega" in the national capital, Gandhi said an INDIA bloc government will also abolish the Agniveer scheme and compensate the 1.5 lakh youngsters who were selected but not given entry into the armed forces.

"The first step is a caste census along with an economic survey and it will ascertain who possesses how much wealth in the country," he said.

People making up 90 per cent of the country's population do not even know their strength and are unaware as to how much of India's wealth they possess, he added.

"They say that they have almost 50 per cent of the population but they do not know how much wealth they have. We are going to conduct a caste census and the OBCs (Other Backward Classes) will know how much they have in different fields and the truth will come out," Gandhi said.

"What is happening today is that OBCs are being fooled and a lot is being told to them but the main issue of how much wealth is lying with whom is not known," he added.

With the caste survey, the entire country will know who possesses how much wealth and a new politics will begin and people will demand their 50 per cent "hissedari (share)".

"How much wealth is in the hands of the backwards, poor or general castes or women? We will ascertain (this) through an economic survey on who has how much wealth. Then new politics will start. A person will say that if they have 50 per cent population but 2 per cent of the wealth, he will say he wants a 50 per cent share in the wealth. Seedhi baat hai ... his is our thought," Gandhi said, responding to a query from a youngster from the OBC community.

However, Gandhi's remarks drew a sharp retort from the BJP's social media chief Amit Malviya.

"Where does Rahul Gandhi want to take the country with his deeply dangerous and delusional ideas?" he asked.

"Here is the 'genius' explaining his regressive idea of wealth distribution, which he thinks will usher in 'new politics'. This is for everyone who defended the Congress manifesto, saying there was no mention of 'wealth distribution' in it. He delivered this 'stellar' speech at a programme in Delhi," Malviya said in a post on X, sharing a clip of Gandhi's speech.

Gandhi claimed that in the last 10 years, the system of employment creation has been demolished and small businesses are unable to provide jobs any longer after suffering from GST implementation and demonetisation.

"We said in our manifesto that we will abolish the Agriveer scheme," he said and added an INDIA government will pay some kind of compensation to those 1.5 lakh youngsters who had been selected prior to the Agniveer scheme but were not allowed to join.

Gandhi said, "What is the real meaning of Agniveer? It is that they do not want to give martyr status, canteen facilities or pension to the poor while the normal jawans will get everything -- pension, martyr status and other facilities."

"They have created divisions within the Army through this Agniveer scheme and that is why we want you to understand things politically," he added.

The former Congress chief also claimed that the Agniveer scheme was not made by the Army.

The entire system was bypassed and the decision taken by the Prime Minister's Office, without the Army being asked.

"The scheme is faulty and they did not ask the beneficiaries, the Army or the defence establishment," the Congress leader alleged.

Gandhi claimed that while the common people did not get a loan waiver of a single rupee, Rs 16 lakh crore was waived off for big industrialists.

The INDIA bloc has already planned to bring the Right to Apprenticeship scheme that will entitle students to a guaranteed job after graduation or diploma, with an assured income of Rs 1 lakh per annum.

The Congress will put Rs 1 lakh per year in the accounts of the poorest women in the country, he also claimed.

"Modi ji is worried and that is why he is saying the wrong things," he said.

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