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Sam Pitroda Resigns as Indian Overseas Congress Chairman

Sam Pitroda Resigns as Indian Overseas Congress Chairman

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NEW DELHI, May 8: After landing the Congress in yet another mess in the middle of the Lok Sabha elections, The United States-based party leader Sam Pitroda on Wednesday resigned as the Chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress after his controversial remarks brought the Congress “racist” label from the BJP.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said on X that party chief Mallikarjun Kharge accepted Mr Pitroda’s decision. “Mr 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,” Mr Ramesh said in his post.

Calling Mr Pitroda’s comments racist, leaders of the BJP, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has accused the Congress of pursuing divisive practices. In an interview, Mr Pitroda had described India as a “diverse country… where people on East look like Chinese, people on West look like Arab, people on North look like maybe White and people in South look like Africa.”

The Congress, still firefighting over Mr Pitroda’s earlier comment on inheritance tax, found itself in the middle of a fresh row that posed a challenge to allies like MK Stalin’s DMK.

The Congress had immediately distanced itself from Mr Pitroda’s remark. “The analogies drawn by Mr 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,” read a post from Mr Ramesh.

Out-of-turn comments by Mr Pitroda have proved a challenge for the Congress amid the election. Earlier this month, his comment on the inheritance tax in the United States as an example of “…new policies so concentration of wealth can be prevented” had also landed the Congress in trouble with Mr Modi using his comments to caution the voters that if they vote the Congress to power their children could be denied inheritance of parents’ property. Mr Modi had also remarked that if elected, the Congress would redistribute the personal wealth of people among “infiltrators” and won’t even spare the “mangalsutras” of women.

In the interview that brought “racist” label for the Congress and became the cause for his resignation, Mr Pitroda had tried to glorify the nature of Indian diversity. Mr Pitroda had 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 had said.

(Manas Dasgupta)


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