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Rahul Gandhi Calls Women's Reservation Bill "Distraction Tactic" Against Caste Census, Demands To Know OBC Numbers

Nishtha Anushree

Sep 22, 2023, 01:20 PM | Updated 01:20 PM IST

Rahul Gandhi (Pic Via Twitter)
Rahul Gandhi (Pic Via Twitter)

Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi expressed his appreciation for the women's reservation bill while simultaneously characterizing it as a "distraction and diversion tactic" from the demand for a caste census.

During a press conference on Friday (22 September), Rahul Gandhi stated, "The women's reservation is a positive development, but we've noted two important points: first, the need for a Census before the bill's implementation, and second, delimitation."

He added, "The reality is that reservation can be put into practice immediately. It's not a complex matter, but the government is reluctant to do so. They've presented it to the country, but it won't be implemented for another ten years."

Raising concerns about the timeline for implementing the bill, Rahul Gandhi remarked, "There's uncertainty about whether this will ever be put into effect. This is diverting attention away from the OBC census."

He reiterated his claim that among 90 secretaries of the country, only three hail from the OBC community and targeted the BJP for trying to compensate it by showcasing OBC representation in Lok Sabha.

Gandhi further said, "Budget is controlled by officers. OBC officers control only 5 per cent of the budget. Are OBCs only 5 per cent of population? I want to know how many OBCs are there in Hindustan?"

He said that he would accept these numbers if the OBC population is proportionate to it and to know the OBC population, a caste census is needed. He urged OBC youth to fight for their rights.

When asked if he regrets that the OBC quota wasn't included in the 2010 Bill brought by the UPA, Rahul Gandhi responded, "I absolutely regret it. It should have been done then, and we will ensure it gets done."

On Thursday, the Parliament passed the women's reservation bill with the support of 215 lawmakers in the Rajya Sabha. Following the bill's passage, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked the MPs for their support.

The 128th Constitution Amendment Bill, known as the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam, will now require the approval of the majority of state assemblies.

Its implementation is contingent upon a delimitation exercise to redraw parliamentary and assembly constituencies based on the census, which the government has indicated will be initiated next year.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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