National News Report

Sam Pitroda Resigns After Racist Remark

Party general secretary Jairam Ramesh announced that Sam Pitroda has decided to step down as the chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress, and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge has accepted the decision. The decision was taken on his own accord. Pitroda’s racist comment on how Indians from different parts of the country look created a major political controversy amid the ongoing Lok Sabha election.
Pitroda made some controversial comments while speaking to The Statesman. In a video being circulated online, Pitroda said, “We could hold together a country as diverse as India where people on the East look like Chinese, people on the West look like Arab, people on the North look like maybe White, and people in South look like Africa. It doesn’t matter. We are all brothers and sisters.”
Party spokesperson Jairam Ramesh said on ‘X’ “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,”
He added, “We all respect different languages, religions, customs, and food. That’s the India I believe in, where everybody has a place and compromises a little bit.”
At a rally on Wednesday, Modi referred to the remarks and said, “Shehzada, referring to Rahul Gandhi, will have to answer. The nation and Modi will not tolerate insulting our citizens based on skin color.” Reacting to Pitroda’s remarks, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, in a post on X, said, “Sam bhai, I am from the Northeast, 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! (Please understand at least something about our country).”
Backlashes did not end here; actor-turned-politician Kangana Ranaut lashed out at Congress and condemned Pitroda’s comments as “racist and divisive”. In a jab, she called him Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s mentor. She also tweeted, “Their whole ideology is about divide and rule. It’s sickening to call fellow Indians Chinese and African. Shame on Congress!”.

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This is not the first time Pitroda has been in the limelight for disputing statements. As reported by the Hindustan Times, let’s look at his past controversies.
Inheritance tax: In April, Sam Pitroda stoked a controversy while speaking about the concept of inheritance tax prevailing in America and said these are issues that need to be discussed. Sam Pitroda said, “In America, there is an inheritance tax. If one has 100 million USD worth of wealth and when he dies, he can only transfer 45 per cent to his children, the government grabs 55 per cent. That’s an interesting law. It says you in your generation, made wealth and you are leaving now, you must leave your wealth for the public, not all of it, half of it, which to me sounds fair,”. After the comments snowballed into a controversy, Pitroda sought to downplay the issue, saying he had only cited inheritance tax in the US as an example.
The Ram Mandir controversy: In June 2023, as excitement mounted for the grand opening of the Ram Mandir, Sam Pitroda stirred controversy by stating that temples would not tackle India’s urgent issues, such as unemployment, inflation, education, and health. His comments gave the BJP ammunition to criticize the Congress, highlighting the focus on temple discussions over socio-economic matters.
One thousand nine hundred eighty-four anti-Sikh riots: In May 2019, Sam Pitroda drew ire by dismissively remarking “hua to hua” (so what) when he was questioned about the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. He redirected the discussion to the incumbent government’s failures to fulfil promises, deflecting accountability for the tragic events 1984.
The Pulwama attack remarks: In the aftermath of the Pulwama attack in February 2019, Sam Pitroda sparked controversy by questioning the effectiveness of the Indian Air Force’s retaliatory airstrikes on Balakot. His comments triggered a debate on India’s response to terrorist incidents and the suitable diplomatic strategy for handling such crises.
Nehru vs Ambedkar on Constitution: Citing an article by Sudheendra Kulkarni, Sam Pitroda claimed in a social media post that Jawaharlal Nehru played a more significant role than BR Ambedkar in the framing of the Constitution. This assertion stirred up debate and was subsequently withdrawn, underscoring the delicate nature of discussions surrounding the architects of the Constitution.

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