In the last nine years, the country has "polarised" and a very small per cent of people have really concentrated power and wealth, senior Congress leader Sam Pitroda has alleged.
Pitroda is the chairperson of the Indian Overseas Congress and he is accompanying Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on his six-day US tour.
“I think in the last nine years over a period of time, our society has been polarised. Polarised by focusing on religion. On the one hand, there is Hindu, on the other hand, there is everything else,” Pitroda told PTI.
Senior BJP leaders, including Union ministers and chief ministers, highlighted the achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in a nationwide outreach on Monday to mark its nine years in office.
The BJP said in a statement that India has witnessed "unprecedented" development in every sector with the mantra of "nation first" guiding Modi's policies.
However, Pitroda said the growth has been twisted. “It is uneven. And that's a great cause of concern. When you don't have democratic institutions functioning normally, you don't feel secure. So, there's a fear in the mind of the people that somebody will come and attack me. So, they don't speak,” Pitroda, who is based in the US, said.
“We all know that 85 per cent of India's population is Hindu or whatever the number is, maybe 82. But within the Hindu community, a very small per cent of high-level people have really concentrated power and wealth. And in the process, a large number of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, artisans, carpenters, blacksmiths, plumbers, Dalits, have not really progressed as well as they should have,” he said.
“So the fight is not about Hindu and non-Hindu. The fight is about the underprivileged and privileged. In the nine years, I think wealth is concentrated. We brag about so many billionaires, which is fine, I'm happy with it. But we have not lifted a large number of people out of poverty,” he said.
“The trolls on social media just harass people. They harass women. They harass reporters, they harass media people, whether it is typically Ravish Kumar of the world or anybody else, they attack your family, they attack your mother... this is out of control. And it cannot be tolerated. The trolls cannot be tolerated,” he said.
“Somebody in the government has to stand up and say, look, anybody who trolls and attacks somebody unnecessarily will be punished as opposed to we are encouraging parole. That is a worry for a lot of us. Look at the violence. Violence has increased. Look at violence against women. It has increased,” Pitroda said.
People who are worshipped today are corrupt, dictatorial, and abusive, he alleged.
“(They) use all kinds of language against everybody. Promote hate. And I'm saying, where did we go wrong? What's going on? And it bothers me not that you're gonna change it overnight, but at least you can raise your voice and have an honest conversation about how I feel. You don't have to agree with me. But can I get a chance to talk and we don't have that space,” Pitroda said.
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