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Oppn lost power due to disunity; Congress's problems need remedying: Amartya Sen

Speaking on the Opposition making the caste census an important poll issue, Sen said India needs more empowerment for its underprivileged.
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 09:10 IST
Last Updated : 14 April 2024, 09:10 IST

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Kolkata: Noting that the Opposition in India has lost much of its power due to disunity, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen said the Congress has many organisational problems that need remedying.

In an interview with PTI, Sen said that a caste census might be an exercise to consider, but India needs greater empowerment for the underprivileged through better education, healthcare, and gender equity.

The noted economist said he is "enormously proud" to be a citizen of a democratic country like India, but there is a need to "work harder to enhance the nation's democratic nature".

Sen said the opposition bloc I.N.D.I.A. failed to gain much traction, with its important allies such as JD(U) and RLD walking out.

When asked what the Opposition lacks in taking on the BJP, he said, "The Opposition in India lost a lot of its power due to its disunity. Unity would have given it much more strength."

"Congress has many organisational problems that need remedying. The party's great past should inspire it," he said.

Sen was also critical of the BJP-led NDA government over its economic policies.

He claimed that widespread illiteracy and extraordinary gender inequality make it difficult for the poor in India to progress.

"India's ruling classes tend to look after the interests of the rich. Widespread illiteracy, commonly shared ill health, and extraordinary gender inequality make it difficult for the Indian poor to progress," he said.

Moody's Analytics on Friday projected India's economy to expand by 6.1 per cent in 2024, lower than the 7.7 per cent growth witnessed in 2023.

When asked about the Opposition's claim that the BJP might change the Constitution if it returns to power, Sen said changing the country's Constitution would not serve any purpose except aligning it with the government's 'single-religion focus'.

"Changing the Indian Constitution may align it more with the government's class priority and its single-religion focus, but it will not benefit the common people of India," he said.

Speaking on the Opposition making the caste census an important poll issue, Sen said India needs more empowerment for its underprivileged.

"A caste census may be a good exercise to consider, but what India needs most is greater empowerment for the underprivileged through better education, healthcare, and gender equity," he said.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said that the party will conduct a countrywide caste census if voted to power. The Mahagathbandhan government, of which JD(U), RJD and Congress and Left parties were a part, implemented a caste census in Bihar last year.

On whether the BJP would be able to weather alleged dissatisfaction about economic performance by consolidating the majority Hindus with the construction of Ayodhya Ram Mandir and implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the 90-year-old professor said such an idea would betray the country's secular roots and multicultural nature.

"India is a secular country with a secular Constitution, but while focusing only on Hindu identity may be easy for a majority of Hindus, this betrays India's secular roots and multicultural nature," the professor at Harvard University said.

On the Lok Sabha polls, Sen said he is 'enormously proud' to be a citizen of a democratic country like India.

"But we must work harder to enhance the democratic nature of the country," he said.

The seven-phase elections in India are slated to begin on April 19, and the votes will be counted on June 4.

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Published 14 April 2024, 09:10 IST

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