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Congress should Speak about All Deprived Groups, Not Only OBCs

– Syed Tanveer Ahmed

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on September 21 made a statement in Lok Sabha that out of 94 secretaries in Government of India, only three are OBCs and these secretaries control only five percent of the government’s budget.

Rahul probably wanted to draw attention of the nation towards underrepresentation of the OBCs in government services though they account for more than 42 per cent of India’s population. If interpreted, this means that more than 95 percent of secretaries in the government of India are from upper castes or general category whose population is just more than 22 per cent of country’s total population.

A question arises: Are only OBCs underrepresented in government services? If other caste or religious groups are underrepresented, why did Rahul choose only OBCs and avoided naming other groups like Muslims? If he was not aware of Muslim representation in government services, he should have read the Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee report prepared in 2006 by his own party government. The Sachar report clearly says that while Muslims account for 16 percent of India’s total population, their representation is abysmally very low, that is 3 percent and below, in IAS and other central government services. In none of the states, Muslim representation is in proportion to their population, not even in Kerala and West Bengal that were, for a long period, ruled by Left parties. The condition of Muslims in Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and UP – the states that account for more than 50 per cent of total Muslim population – is the worst.

Is he scared of speaking about poor representation of Muslims in government services? What is the reason for the Congress leader being frightened to speak about the backwardness of Indian Muslims and their poor representation in government jobs, legislature and judiciary? Is he terrified of being dubbed as sympathetic to Muslims if he raised vital issues pertaining to Muslims? As a leading Opposition party, the Congress that has ruled the country for over five decades, should muster courage to speak up for poor, deprived and underprivileged communities like Muslims. By remaining silent on crucial Muslim issues, the Congress will only be helping in furthering the BJP agenda of making Muslims irrelevant in India’s democratic politics. This is very unfortunate because the Muslims, after Independence, gave unqualified support to the Congress and even today, if Rahul Gandhi is a member of Lok Sabha, he owes it to the Muslim electorates of Muslim-majority Wayanad in Kerala.

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