Rahul makes headway in BJP’s hotbed
Initiates a raging debate among students of Basavanagudi National
College about the reservation system and discrimination against
Dalits, and walks away, but not before casting a magical spell on the

Posted On Sunday, August 15, 2010 at 01:08:08 AM

>From time immemorial, Basavanagudi has always been a strong bastion of
the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But on Saturday, a different scene
unfolded with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi winning an hour-long debate
with the students of the prestigious Basavanagudi National College.
Banking on his ability to convince people with his logical aptitude,
Rahul not only cast a magical spell on the students but successfully
made headway in the BJP's hot bed.

Converting a question on reservation and discrimination against Dalits
into an interesting debate, Rahul unfolded his agenda of politics and
development before the youth brigade of IT city. Though the
interaction was initially meant to be a question and answer session,
it took the form of a debate with both Rahul and the students showing
a keen interest in the subject. Although the student body was divided
in its opinion, Rahul concluded the debate by convincing one and all
about the reality of discrimination towards dalits in the country.

It all started with a discussion about improving the education system
in the country. Several teachers in the audience suggested that
quality of our teachers needs to be improved. Rahul shot back saying,
"Why do you think that we should focus on improving the quality of our
teaching fraternity? Are not they qualified enough to bring about

Replying to Rahul's question, a lecturer said, "Teaching has almost
become a last resort for the unemployed youth. It is only the
leftovers who end up teaching. We should change this equation." Now it
was the turn of Rahul to reply, but instead, he threw the question
back at the students. Surprising many, a student suggested, "Sir, we
should eradicate cast-based reservation in the country. Because of
this, the eligible are being denied a fair chance. The student's
comment set the tone for the next round of the debate.

Here are a few excerpts:

Rahul: Do you think Dalits in India are subjected to discrimination?
Do you think the lower castes are still discriminated against?
Students: No
Rahul: Then, it only means that you have not been exposed to
village-life in India. All of you need not agree with the fact. But
even if 10 people among you agree that discrimination still exists,
then it is a big problem in this country.
Students: Everyone has been given a chance. In fact, Dalits have been
given more chances to prove themselves.
Rahul: Tell me, what is the percentage of dalits/backward class people
in our country?
Students: 30%, more than 50%, nearly 70%.
Rahul: You are putting it at 70 per cent. Tell me, how many of you
belong to the SC, ST and OBC here? (Obviously, Rahul was expecting it
to be more than 50 per cent).
Students: Very few belonging to the SC, ST and OBC divisions raised their hands.
Rahul: Going by the mandate in this hall, do you not think a majority
of Dalits have not got a chance to be represented here?
Students: Loud noise and applause
Rahul: Tell me, how many of you belong to the GM category in this hall?
Students: 90 per cent of the students raised their hands.
Rahul: Look, this itself is a testimony to the fact. There should have
been 70 per cent SCs, STs in the audience. This clearly shows that
discrimination against Dalits in this country is a reality. I hope you
agree with me.
Student: Sir, I do not agree with your argument.
Rahul: Madam, you might not agree with me. Tomorrow, if you insist
that the Sun will not rise, will it cease to rise? In the same way,
discrimination is a reality and a fact. We all have to accept it. I
will take you to the villages and show you how our Dalits are
discriminated against.
Students: Applaud in unision.


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