Sam Pitroda's racist comment sparks row: How politicians reacted

The video of Pitroda's interview has been widely shared on X (formerly Twitter) and has invited loads of criticism.
Last Updated : 08 May 2024, 06:59 IST
Last Updated : 08 May 2024, 06:59 IST

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Indian Overseas Congress chairperson Sam Pitroda in an interview with the Statesman made a comment that has been labelled racist.

He said, "We could hold together a country as diverse as India -- where people on East look like Chinese, people on West look like Arab, people on North look like maybe White and people in South look like Africa. It doesn't matter. We are all brothers and and sisters."

The video of this interview has been widely shared on X (formerly Twitter), and has invited loads of criticism.

Several politicians too have taken to X and shared their reactions over the comment by Pitroda amid the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. PM Modi was among one of the first BJP leaders to react to Pitroda's remarks at one of his poll rallies during the day and he slammed the Congress and Rahul Gandhi, referring to Pitroda as the latter's mentor. "I understand that Congress had tried to defeat Droupadi Murmu in Presidential elections due to her skin colour. The country will not accept discrimination based on skin colour, Congress' shehzada should answer," he said.

Actor-turned-BJP candidate for LS polls from Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi, Kangana Ranaut, posted on X, "Sam Pitroda is Rahul Gandhi’s mentor. Listen to his racist & divisive jibes for Indians. Their whole ideology is about divide & rule. It's sickening to call fellow Indians Chinese and African. Shame on Congress!"

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar wrote on X, "This is how Rahul Gandhi has been taught to divide up and see India by his tutor and mentor Sam Pitroda."

Taking a satirical dig, Assam CM Himanta wrote on X, "Sam bhai, I am from the North East 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!"

BJP leader Shehzad Poonawalla told news agency ANI, "This is a shocking, despicable and disgusting comment made by Sam Pitroda. He is the mentor of Rahul Gandhi. It is the word, spirit, vocabulary and ideology of Rahul Gandhi... First, they divided on the basis of caste, religion and language. Now, they are dividing Indian vs. Indian. And to make a comment like Indians are like Chinese, isn't it a racist comment?... Isn't it an insulting and objectionable comment? It shows that 'Congress ki Mohabbat ki Dukan actually has Nafrat and Racism ka Saman'..."

Tejasvi Surya also psoted on X saying, "Congress has always been the OG breaking India party. This commentary is no different from what Churchill had said about us. No wonder RG is the way he is after being mentored by him!"

BJP MP Ravi Shankar Prasad told ANI, "It becomes clear again and again that what does Sam Pitroda understand about India. It is clear that he is a failure. He doesn't understand the country. He is Rahul Gandhi's advisor. I can now understand why Rahul Gandhi speaks nonsense...This is the frustration of defeat. They neither understand India nor its heritage."

Pitroda had earlier come under attack from the BJP for his comments on inheritance tax, from which the Congress quickly distanced itself.

BJP's Sudhanshu Trivedi also held a press conference where he said the ongoing Lok Sabha polls have now become a battle between those under the influence of a foreign mindset in their definition of India and an India that is "aatmanirbhar" (self-reliant) and brimming with self-pride.

"He is saying that India's diversity and democracy are being challenged due to Ram temple, RamNavami and India's PM visit to Ram temple... I want to reiterate, that those affected by the ideas of such foreign advisors can't understand that idea, when PM Modi says, that India is the mother of democracy." "To the culture that he is claiming has weakened the idea of India and democracy, that culture is a fundamental base of democracy and diversity. To protect the Babri structure, you were standing in the court, and to malign the Ram temple you are standing even from abroad," Trivedi said.

AAP MP Sanjay Singh also chose to distance his party and the I.N.D.I.A. alliance from Pitroda's comments. He told ANI, "As far as the remark of Sam Pitroda is concerned, none of the leaders of the INDIA alliance support that."

Union Minister Giriraj Singh also ended up slamming Rahul Gandhi alongside Pitroda for the latter's remarks.

"Sam Pitroda is the Guru of Rahul Gandhi. Sometimes, he abuses and at times he divides North India and South India. If Sam Pitroda said something like that then Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi should apologise to the country. They want to destroy the country," Singh told ANI.

BJP minister Anurag Thakur also took to 'X' to condemn Pitroda's remarks. He attacked the Congress, saying 'only a party with a colonial mindset like Congress could indulge in such deplorable racism'.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, however chose to deflect attention from the controversy and said that PM Modi should not play full toss on useless issues. She told ANI,"I challenge him to play full toss on employment, inflation, and atrocities on women, only then I will believe that yes someone has played."

BJP Tamil Nadu chief K Annamalai also reacted sharply on Pitroda's remarks, saying the 'Congress party believes that India is a land of Invaders & doesn’t have an individuality of its own.' Sadly, this is the thought process of its leaders, their offspring & mentees, Annamalai said.

"I am a Dark-skinned Bharatiya!," Annamalai also shared a photo on 'X' later.

Finance minister and BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman was yet another prominent party leader who attacked the grand old party over Pitroda's remarks. She took to 'X' and shared," I am from South India. I look Indian! My team has enthusiastic members from north east India. They look Indian! My colleagues from west India look Indian!

Former Congress leader and Rahul's friend-turned-foe Jyotiraditya Scindia also didn't relinquish a chance to hit back at his former party.

"While BJP strives to create a Viksit Bharat with values of equality and inclusiveness, Congress continues to belittle our cultural and heritage values," he said on 'X'.

Union Minister Kiren Rijiju told ANI, "We should not take this statement lightly because he is mentor, advisor of Rahul Gandhi... Whatever Sam Pitroda thinks and says, that is what the Congress party is actually saying. Sam Pitroda has a foreign mindset. His ideas and his thinking are very alien to Indian culture, that is all about Rahul Gandhi as well. This particular statement is very dangerous and damaging, it can lead to split thinking in terms of unity and integrity."

Published 08 May 2024, 06:59 IST

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