Asked about Congress caste census push, Rahul questions media on diversity with show of hands

‘How many Dalits are in this room?...That is the question we are asking about institutions, wealth, assets.’

WrittenBy:NL Team
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Addressing a press conference at the Congress headquarters in Delhi, party leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday questioned the media on caste diversity, and used the response from reporters present at the event to justify the party’s push for a caste census across the country.

The press conference was held after the Congress Working Committee’s meeting on Monday. “The PM is incapable of doing the caste census. Our three out of four CMs are from the OBC category. Out of 10 BJP CMs, only one CM is from the OBC category. How many BJP CMs are from the OBC category? The PM doesn’t work for the OBCs but to distract them from main issues,” Gandhi said at the press interaction, which came days after Bihar released the findings of a caste census in the state. Congress-governed Rajasthan and Karnataka have already announced the survey.

As a reporter sought clarification on the possibility of an economic survey at the state-level, Gandhi said the primary question was about population, wealth and share in the country’s assets and institutions. He then asked for a show of hands to check caste representation among the mediapersons present at the event. 

“Let me ask you here. How many Dalits are in this room? Dekhiye; ye maza dekhiye. How many OBCs are in this room? Raise your hands.”

As a cameraperson raised his hand, Gandhi said, “I am not talking about you.” “I am talking about these people,” he said, pointing to reporters in the front.

“So this is the question. How many Dalits, OBCs and tribals are in India’s institutions? That is the question we are asking about institutions, wealth, assets and population.”

Another journalist then questioned him on the BJP’s allegation that the caste survey was a way to divide Hindus. The Congress leader then said that it was just a way to divert the issue, “similar to how journalists in the room were looking in other directions” when asked about how many OBCs were present at the gathering. “Not a single hand was seen.”

In 2019, there were zero journalists from SC or ST backgrounds in leadership positions in India’s mainstream media newsrooms, spanning print, broadcast and digital. And in 2022, that number still stood at zero. That was one of the findings of Who Tells Our Stories Matters: Representation of Marginalised Caste Groups in Indian Media. A joint effort by Newslaundry and Oxfam India, this annual report since 2019 has scrutinised caste representation in Indian newsrooms. 

Read more about it here.

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article imageIn 2019, Indian media had zero SC or ST journalists in leadership roles. In 2022, it’s still zero


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