New Delhi, Feb 5 (PTI) BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi on Monday flayed the Congress over its demand for a caste census, saying the party does not have any genuine concern for the welfare of people from backward classes and is only indulging in caste-based politics.
Participating in a debate in the Rajya Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to the President's Address, Trivedi said former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi did not believe in caste politics and their Congress party is now talking about a caste census.
He asked who was right - the former prime ministers or the one demanding a caste census now.
Trivedi did not name Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who has been pushing for a nationwide caste census. The Congress leader has promised that such an exercise would be conducted if the party comes to power at the Centre in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
"These people say please do caste census...but first they should tell who stopped it. It was a decision taken by Pandit Nehru in 1951...," Trivedi said.
Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi had also stated that they did not believe in caste politics, he noted.
"Now I want to ask who is right, Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi or the one demanding it now?" Trivedi said.
Do the opposition parties care for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Backward Classes (OBCs) or is it just a ploy to garner votes, he asked.
Attacking the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra being undertaken by Rahul Gandhi, Trivedi said some leaders have left the opposition bloc INDIA, since the Congress leader started the initiative.
Highlighting the inclusive nature of BJP's politics, he noted that the party has given leadership roles to people from backward castes.
Trivedi said the party in recent times has made five chief ministers and eight deputy chief ministers from backward castes.
"Those who speak about social justice have not allowed anybody other than one family to come forward," he stated, in an apparent swipe at the Congress.
Trivedi noted that the country has seen rapid progress under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi amid difficult geo-political situations across the globe.
Countering him, Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said that the BJP-RSS is following the divide-and-rule strategy, as enforced earlier by the British, in the country.
He also accused the Modi government of failing to bring back to the country economic offenders like Nirav Modi.
"Where are these people? You promised to bring back money back. Where is it?" he said.
They first divided Hindu-Muslim and is now trying to divide the followers of Lord Ram, Singh said. He referred to the newly built Ram temple in Ayodhya.
Singh also raised concerns over reliability of electronic voting machines and sought that details regarding the software used in such machines be placed in the public domain.
He also attacked the BJP for using religion for political gains. PTI MSS MJH SMN