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Sam Pitroda’s Remarks on India's Diversity Sparks Controversy

© AP Photo / AJIT KUMARNational Knowledge commission chairman Sam Pitroda addresses a press conference in New Delhi, India, Thursday, May 11, 2006.
National Knowledge commission chairman Sam Pitroda addresses a press conference in New Delhi, India, Thursday, May 11, 2006.  - Sputnik India, 1920, 08.05.2024
Indian Overseas Congress chairman Sam Pitroda has several times stoked controversy with his remarks. His fresh comments on diversity of India have left Congress in a soup once again.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday criticised Congress after its official affiliate Indian Overseas Congress (IOC) chairman Sam Pitroda commented on diversity of India.
In an interview with The Statesman, Pitroda said “we could hold together a country as diverse as India -- 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”.
Reacting to his remarks, BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla said it is the words and thinking of Rahul Gandhi only because these days Rahul is also playing the politics of divide and rule to such an extent that first they divide on caste and language lines and now they are doing Indians Vs Indians.

“To make comments like Indians are like Chinese. Isn't this a racist comment? Isn't this insulting? Indians are looking like Africans. Isn't it the comment on the entire South people? By making these comments, it shows that Congress ‘Mohabbat ki dukaan’ (shop of love) actually has ‘Nafrat ka saaman’ (thoughts of hatred). Unless Congress gives a complete explanation and sacks Sam Pitroda, this should be taken as the statement of the Congress,” the BJP spokesman said.

Assam State Chief and BJP politician Himanta Biswa Sarma also made a sarcastic comment on Pitroda’s remarks as he said that he is from North East and looks like an Indian.
“Sam bhai, I am from the North East and I look like an Indian. We are a diverse country - we may look different but we are all one. Hamare desh ke bare mein thoda to samajh lo! (Understand our country a bit),” Sarma said sharing the video on his X account.
BJP’s candidate from Mandi Lok Sabha constituency Kangana Ranaut also trained her guns at Gandhi scion as she said that Pitroda is Rahul Gandhi’s mentor and his racist and divisive jibes for Indian depicts the ideology about divide & rule.
“It's sickening to call fellow Indians Chinese and African. Shame on Congress!” Ranaut said.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister Kiren Rijiju said that he is not surprised but very angry. “This is not a personal opinion of Sam Pitroda. Congress takes all ideas from him, so Congress should not come out and say this is his personal comment. Rahul Gandhi and Pitroda had foreign thinking, they want to end our culture,” the minister said.

Congress Distances from Pitroda’s Comments

Meanwhile, Congress has chosen to distance itself from the remarks made by Pitroda as party General Secretary in-charge Communications Jairam Ramesh termed them as “unfortunate and unacceptable”.
“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,” Ramesh said in a tweet.

Controversies Associated with Pitroda

It is not the first time that Congress is in hot waters because of Sam Pitroda’s comments. A few days back, Pitroda faced massive backlash after he termed inheritance tax an “interesting idea”.
Commenting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘redistribution of wealth remark’, Pitroda stated that the United States has a concept of inheritance tax, which means that 55 per cent of a person’s wealth is handed over to the government and not their children and suggested the implementation of a similar system in India.
However, Congress had to distance itself from this remark too but the remarks gave BJP a chance to attack the grand old party during the ongoing elections.
Last year, the IOC chairman had stirred a controversy by questioning the construction of Ram Temple.
“When the entire nation is hung up on Ram Temple and Ram Janmabhoomi, it bothers me…To me, religion is something very personal, and national issues are education, employment, growth, the economy, inflation, health, the environment, and pollution. But no one speaks about it,” he had said during an event in the US.
India's opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi, speaks during a 5-month-long “Unite India March,” in Jammu, India, Monday, Jan.23, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 03.03.2023
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