Cong never did caste politics: Fmr Haryana CM

The Congress party‘s new pitch around the OBC politics after Rahul Gandhi-inspired caste census plank continues to evoke discussions among the party leaders.

Senior party leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda said the Congress never indulged in caste politics as the party’s political, social and economic thrust has always been “inclusive” that made all the sections of society co-exist harmoniously.

Maintaining that the commitment to the caste census is a “decision taken by the party leadership” for “social bhagidari (partnership)” of all sections, Hooda pointed out that it was his government in Haryana that, for the first time in the country, brought reservation for the economically poor among the upper castes.

“The Congress party never indulged in caste politics. In economic and social policies, the Congress always pursued an inclusive policy to the benefit of all sections of the society. The Congress party’s economic policy always took care of all, including the poor, workers, farmers, small and medium businesses, and the job-seeking youth. Similarly, the Congress party’s social policy too always displayed an inclusive thrust. As an umbrella party, the Congress always brought together all sections of the society,” Hooda said while talking to ET.

When asked about the national caste-census promised by the Congress, Hooda said, “It is the decision of the Congress leadership for the due social bhagidari (partnership) of all sections. But, the Congress never indulges in caste politics. Let me remind you that it was my government in Haryana that brought, for the first time in the country, reservation for the economically poor people among the upper castes. It was that decision of our government that later inspired the Modi government to bring a reservation for the economically backward among the upper castes (at the national level).”

Hooda, a two-term chief minister of Haryana, was referring to his second government bringing reservation, in addition to the SC-ST-OBC quota, for the poor among the upper castes, including Brahmins, Rajputs, Baniyas among others in government jobs and in educational institutions. Hooda’s comments, incidentally, came at a time when CWC member Anand Sharma has opposed the party pitch for a caste census by saying it was a departure from the Congress’ “inclusive” approach.

Asked about the BJP installing a new CM in Haryana belonging to an OBC caste, Hooda quipped: “A government is judged by its policies not by the name of the CM. The BJP has changed its CM, we (the Congress) will change the government in the elections.”

Roy Walsh

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