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Sam Pitroda Quits After Landing Congress In New Mess Over Racist Comments

New Delhi: Sam Pitroda, veteran Congressman and the party's overseas unit chief, stepped down from the post this evening amid a huge political row over his controversial remarks that came amid the massive seven-phase election. Calling his comments racist, leaders of the BJP, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have accused the Congress of pursuing divisive practices.

The announcement about Mr Pitroda came in a terse post on X from the party's communications-in-charge Jairam Ramesh.

"Mr. Sam Pitroda has decided to step down as Chairman of the Indian Overseas Congress of his own accord. The Congress President has accepted his decision," the post read.

In an exclusive interview with The Statesman, Mr Pitroda had described India as a "diverse country... where people in the east look like the Chinese, people in the west look like Arabs, people in the north look like maybe white and people in the south look like Africa".

The Congress, still firefighting over Mr Pitroda's earlier comment on inheritance tax, found itself in the middle of a fresh row that posed a challenge to allies like MK Stalin's DMK.

The party immediately distanced itself from Mr Pitroda's remark.

"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," read a post from the party's communications in-charge Jairam Ramesh.

Out-of-turn comments by Mr Pitroda have proved a challenge for the Congress  amid the election. Last month, he made a comment on inheritance tax in the United States as an example of "new policies "that can help prevent concentration of wealth" and should be discussed and debated. The Congress, he had added, always helps people at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

It had drawn a fierce attack from the BJP. PM Modi had remarked that if elected, the Congress would redistribute the personal wealth of people among "infiltrators" and won't even spare the mangalsutras of women.


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