Will PM Modi scrap 50 pc limit on reservations, asks Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader says party committed to a caste census, reiterates it will remove "artificial" 50 pc cap on quotas in government jobs

Rahul Gandhi addresses an election rally in Pune, Maharashtra (photo: @INCIndia/X)
Rahul Gandhi addresses an election rally in Pune, Maharashtra (photo: @INCIndia/X)


Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi whether he would scrap the 50 per cent limit on reservations in the country, and asserted that his own party's 'Nyay guarantees' would revolutionise the future course of politics.

Addressing a rally along with the Congress' Pune Lok Sabha candidate Ravindra Dhangekar, Gandhi said Maharashtra is a "Congress state" in terms of ideology, and he loves visiting.

If the Constitution is changed, India will be unrecognisable, the former Congress president said. "Will Modi ji speak on whether he will scrap the 50 per cent cap on reservations in the country?" he asked.

Gandhi said his party was committed to carrying out a 'caste census' and reiterated that it would remove the "artificial" 50 per cent cap on quotas in government jobs. This cap causes hardships to crores of people and will be "thrown out", he asserted.

"Our fight is to save the Constitution. Modiji, BJP and RSS are trying to destroy the Constitution, which was drafted by Babasaheb Ambedkar and reflects the ideologies of Mahatma Phule, Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru," he said.

It is the Constitution which gives rights to the poor, the marginalised and the backward classes, and if it is not there, "whatever you have will go to 22-25 persons," he told the gathering.

"Their leaders talk about changing the Constitution, ending quotas. But the Congress will never allow it to happen. There are 15 per cent Dalits, 8 per cent Adivasis, and 50 per cent backward classes in the country. So the cumulative population of all three classes is 73 per cent," he said.

But their representation in corporate and other sectors is negligible, he said, adding that the media does not talk about farmers, labourers, unemployment, and inflation, but concentrates on celebrities and weddings of the rich and powerful.

This is why the Congress will conduct a caste census, an economic survey and survey of every institution, Gandhi asserted. "With this exercise, we will find out representation of Dalits, Adivasis and backward classes in media, corporates, private hospitals, colleges and universities. With this, everything will be crystal clear. This will be a revolutionary step unlike anything before in this country," he said.

"The Supreme Court termed the electoral bonds scheme illegal. Modiji claims he is trying to clean politics. If you are trying to clean politics, why were you hiding the names of the donors? The media is not speaking about the electoral bonds scheme," he claimed, saying PM Modi had committed a "scam" in front of the nation.

The Union government has given Rs 16 lakh crore to the 22 richest persons in the country by waiving their loans, while this amount can waive loans of farmers 24 times over and is equivalent to the budget of MNREGA for 24 years, Gandhi claimed. Just 22 persons have accumulated wealth equal to that possessed by 70 crore people of the country, he said.

"The caste census will make people aware of their reality. Modi ji calls himself an OBC, but the moment he is asked about the caste census, he says there is no caste in India," he said.

The Congress, if it comes to power, will also scrap the Agnipath-Agniveer recruitment scheme in the armed forces, while GST will be simplified by scrapping the current five slabs for just one rate, Gandhi said.

"We will waive farmers' loans and provide MSP to them. We will provide a stipend of Rs 8,500 per month to graduates for a year by offering them apprenticeship in public and private sectors. We have decided to give the same amount they have given to these 22 people (Rs 16 lakh crore) to poor families of the country. We will give Rs 1 lakh to women from such families," he added.

Gandhi criticised PM Modi for seeking votes for Prajwal Revanna, JD(S) Lok Sabha nominee from Karnataka, who is accused in a sex scandal, and hit out at the PM for insulting NCP (SP) chief Sharad Pawar and calling him "bhatakti aatma (wandering soul)".

"There has to be a level of a person occupying the PM's post. He should talk about the nation, he should talk about development, he should talk about farmers, but he is insulting a senior leader. Does he think people will be happy with this?" the Congress leader asked.

Gandhi said whenever he lands in Maharashtra, he feels it is a Congress state. "And when I call Maharashtra a Congress state, I am not talking about the party's organisation but about the ideology. You have Congress ideology in your blood," he said.

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