Kolar (Karnataka): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi returned to Karnataka’s Kolar on Sunday, after his controversial 2019 speech which led to his disqualification as an MP last month. He slammed the BJP-led Centre for not providing due representation to the OBCs in government jobs.
During his speech, Gandhi pointed out that the representation of OBCs in the central government is not in line with their population. He demanded that the Union government release the caste census report commissioned by his party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2011.
Gandhi also criticized the BJP’s allocation of reservations for SC/STs and demanded that it be proportional to their population. He added that the 50 per cent cap on reservation should be lifted.
Shri @RahulGandhi addressing the ‘Jai Bharat Rally’ in Kolar, Karnataka.— Congress (@INCIndia) April 16, 2023
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“It is an insult to OBC communities if you (the Union government) don’t do this,” Gandhi said. “Only seven per cent of secretaries in central government offices are from OBC and SC/ST communities. Modiji, you talk about (the welfare of) OBCs. Let us know what their share is in the population.”
Gandhi’s speech comes in the wake of his recent conviction and sentencing to two years in prison in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his remarks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surname. However, he was granted bail, and his sentence was suspended for 30 days to let him appeal the decision.
अडानी जी करप्शन के चिन्ह हैं।— Congress (@INCIndia) April 16, 2023
एक व्यक्ति हिंदुस्तान का पूरा इन्फ्रास्ट्रक्चर उठा ले जाता है। हजारों करोड़ रुपए जादू से उसकी कंपनी में आ जाते हैं।
अडानी जी की डिफेंस कंपनी, शेल कंपनी में चीन का डायरेक्टर बैठा रहता है।
लेकिन कोई जांच नहीं हो रही है?
: @RahulGandhi जी pic.twitter.com/DtLryzctoL
“If you [PM Modi] can give thousands of crores of rupees to Adani, then we can give the money to poor, women, and youths. You helped Adani wholeheartedly, and we will wholeheartedly help the people of the state,” he said. “Aap Apna Kaam Karo, Hum Apna Kaam Karenge (You do your work and we will do ours),” he said while urging people to vote for Congress.
He further sharpened his attacks on the ruling BJP in the State and alleged that the party took 40 per cent commission.
Alleging that the BJP government in Karnataka is “immersed in corruption”, he said, “When I tabled these issues and the Adani matter in the Parliament and questioned PM Modi, my mic was switched off.”
“…Later I asked who owns the Rs 20,000 crore in Adani shell companies? It is ‘benami’. Who owns it,” he said, adding that in response to that for the first time in history, the government did not allow the Parliament to function.
He said until he gets an answer to his questions, he will not stop asking.
“Disqualify me, put me in jail, do anything, doesn’t matter,” Gandhi added.
The former MP from Wayanad was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail by Surat court of Chief Judicial Magistrate H H Varma on March 23 in a defamation case over his ‘Modi surname’ remark in 2019 in Kolar, wherein he, in a dig at PM Modi, said, “How come all the thieves have Modi as the common surname?”.
Following his conviction, Rahul was disqualified as an MP on March 24, as per a Supreme Court ruling in 2013. Under the ruling, any MP or MLA stands to be disqualified automatically if convicted and sentenced to 2 years or more.
The Congress declared 124 candidates in its first list and another 42 in the second list for the State Assembly elections.
With less than a month to go for Karnataka Assembly polls, the Congress on Saturday released its third list of 43 candidates.
Karnataka is slated to go to Assembly polls on May 10 and the counting of votes will take place on May 13.
In addition to criticizing the BJP-led Centre, Gandhi also announced a slew of poll promises of the Congress party in the State. He promised 200 units of free electricity to every family, Rs 2000 every month to women, a total of 10 Kg rice per month to every family, Rs 3000 to every graduate for two years, and Rs 1500 monthly to diploma holders if the Congress party is voted to power in Karnataka.