• Monday, June 17, 2024

India News

Sam Pitroda resigns from India’s opposition party

Sam Pitroda.

By: Pramod Thomas

SAM PITRODA resigned as the chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress on Wednesday (8) after his controversial remarks spurred the ruling BJP to label the party “racist”.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said on X that party chief Mallikarjun Kharge accepted Pitroda’s decision.

“Sam Pitroda has decided to step down as chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress of his own accord. The Congress president has accepted his decision,” Ramesh said in his post.

In a podcast interview, Pitroda said, “We have survived 75 years in a very happy environment where people could live together, leaving aside a few fights here and there. We could hold the country as diverse as India together. Where people in the east look like the Chinese, people in the west look like the Arabs, people in the north look like, maybe, white and people in the south look like Africans.”

“It does not matter. All of us are brothers and sisters. We respect different languages, different religions, different customs, different food,” he said.

The Congress swiftly distanced itself from Pitroda’s comments after the remarks went viral, triggering a political firestorm.

Earlier in the day, Ramesh, in a post on X, said, “The analogies drawn by Sam Pitroda in a podcast to illustrate India’s diversity are most unfortunate and unacceptable. The Indian National Congress completely dissociates itself from these analogies.”

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s party dismissed the Congress’s stand as meaningless as it cited Pitroda’s close association with the Gandhi family and launched a blistering attack.

At his rallies in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Modi said he is livid with the racial profiling of Indians by the US-based “philosopher and uncle of shehzada (Rahul Gandhi)“, and linked the Congress’ opposition to Droupadi Murmu’s presidential bid to its mindset, which saw her as an “African” because of her dark skin.

He asked the Congress chief ministers of Karnataka and Telangana, Siddaramaiah and A Revanth Reddy respectively, if they will accept “such an accusation”.

He also asked if Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin will snap the DMK’s ties with the Congress for Tamil pride. “Do they have the guts?” he asked.

Other BJP leaders also condemned the remarks. At the press conference, Indian minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar cited Pitroda’s long association with the Gandhi family, and said, When a senior Congress leader uses such language, it reveals the mindset of the party’s leadership, which is grounded in divisiveness, racism and ignorance.

BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said the Congress is getting more and more unmasked as the seven-phase Lok Sabha polls progress and the central issue is no longer election but India’s existence.

In a post on X, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “I am from South India. I look Indian! My team has enthusiastic members from northeast India. They look Indian! My colleagues from west India look Indian! But, for the racist who is the mentor of Rahul Gandhi we all look African, Chinese, Arab and the White! Thanks for revealing your mindset and your attitude. INDI alliance’s shame!”

(PTI)

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