New Delhi : Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, who is on a six-day US visit, has once again reiterated his demand for caste-based census and has accused the BJP and RSS of attacking the Constitution of India.
He also said that the beauty of India is its diversity and attack on any language is an attack on the Constitution of the country, which he will not allow to happen.
Interacting with the Indian diaspora here, Rahul Gandhi, who is on a six-day visit to the US said, “India has never rejected an idea. Everyone who has come to India, India has welcomed them with open arms and absorbed their ideas. And that is the India we like, which is humble, which respects, that listens and that is affectionate.”
He dubbed the Indians based in the US as the ambassadors of Indian culture and said that “it is the reason why all of you are here”.
Taking a potshot at the BJP, he said, “And if you had believed in hatred, anger and arrogance then you would not be sitting here but in the BJP meeting and I would be doing ‘Mann Ki Baat’. So thanks to everyone for holding our culture, allowing them to learn from our culture and allowing us to be proud as you all are our ambassadors. If the US says that Indians are intelligent, masters in IT, it is because of you all because you are holding the idea of respect and culture of India.”
To a question about the central government trying to impose the idea of one language, the former Wayanad Lok Sabha MP said, “The definition of India in the Constitution is a union of states. And within our Constitution the idea of language, culture, history and each one of them has to be protected.”
Slamming the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), he said, “The BJP and the RSS are attacking that idea and the Constitution. For me Tamil is more than a language to Tamil people. It is not just a language, but it is their history, culture and their way of life. And I will never ever allow the Tamil language to be threatened because for me threatening the Tamil language is threatening the idea of India. Threatening Bengali, Punjabi, Kannada and Hindi all are attacks on India. Our strength comes from our diversity. Our strength comes from accepting that we are all different but we can work together.”
The former Congress chief once again reiterated his party’s push for the caste census.
“When we were in the system, we had carried out a caste census. The idea behind the caste census was to have an X-ray of Indian society to find out what are the exact demographics of the society, how many people of different communities, and different castes are there. So without knowing the demographics and who is who, it is difficult to distribute wealth and power effectively.
“And that is the reason why we are pushing the BJP for issuing caste census and they are not doing that and when we come to power we will do that, ” he said.
He also said that Congress is committed to make India a fair place and “we understand that India today in terms of treatment of Dalits, tribals, poor and minorities, is not a fair place.”
“There is a Nyay Scheme which can provide minimum income to every Indian, schemes like MGNREGA, increase in public education, public healthcare and I think these are things that can be done to make it a more fair place, ” he said.
On a question over the women empowerment and the delay in the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament, the Congress leader said, “We are committed to it and we tried to pass it in last government but some of our allies were not happy with it and they didn’t allow to pass that bill.”
“So I am confident if we come to power we will pass that bill. We believe in empowering women and their participation in politics. Involving them in governance, business and politics is the way to empower them, ” he added.
Rahul Gandhi arrived here on Tuesday morning. He was travelling on an ordinary passport as he had surrendered his diplomatic passport following his disqualification as a MP.
Indian Overseas Congress Secretary Virendra Vashistha said that Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the US is to spread the idea of love, and he will be interacting with different groups during his six-day visit.