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"Who said this should be done in India, why is BJP in panic?": Pitroda plays down inheritance tax suggestion as party distances itself from comment

New Delhi: Sam Pitroda's comments on debating a possible inheritance tax law in the country have snowballed into a major controversy. With several leaders of the BJP tearing into Pitroda, the Chairman of Indian Overseas Congress on Wednesday attempted to clarify his position saying that remarks were made in an individual capacity.

"It is unfortunate that what I said as an individual on inheritance tax in the US is twisted...to divert attention from what lies PM is spreading about Congress manifesto. PM's comments Mangal Sutra and gold snatching are simply unreal," Pitroda posted on X.

Replying to the BJP's criticism, Pitroda said, "Who said 55 per cent will be taken away? Who said something like this should be done in India? Why are the BJP and the media in panic?"

"I mentioned US inheritance tax in the US only as an example in my normal conversation on TV. Can I not mention facts? I said these are the kinds of issues people will have to discuss and debate. This has nothing to do with the policy of any party including Congress," he added.

Earlier, emphasizing the need for policy toward wealth redistribution, Pitroda spoke about on the concept of inheritance tax prevailing in America and said these are issued that will need to be discussed.

"In America, there is an inheritance tax. If one has 100 million USD worth of wealth and when he dies he can only transfer probably 45 per cent to his children, 55 per cent is grabbed by the government. That's an interesting law. It says you in your generation, made wealth and you are leaving now, you must leave your wealth for the public, not all of it, half of it, which to me sounds fair," Pitroda had said.

"In India, you don't have that. If somebody is worth 10 billion and he dies, his children get 10 billion and the public gets nothing...So these are the kinds of issues people will have to debate and discuss. When we talk about redistributing wealth, we are talking about new policies and new programs that are in the interest of the people and not in the interest of the super-rich only," he had further said.

In India, the concept of levying tax on inheritance does not exist as of now. In fact, the Inheritance or Estate Tax was abolished with effect from 1985.

Meanwhile, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge sought to firefight the controversy saying the party had no intention on bringing an inheritance tax.

"There is a constitution, we don't have any intention on doing this. Why are you putting BJP's words in our mouths? They are just saying all this for votes," the Congress President said,

Meanwhile, Congress General Secretary (Communications), Jairam Ramesh distanced the party from Pitroda's comments saying his view does not always reflect the stand of the party.

"Sam Pitroda has been a mentor, friend, philosopher, and guide to many across the world, including me. He has made numerous, enduring contributions to India's developments. He is the President of the Indian Overseas Congress. Pitroda expresses his opinions freely on issues he feels strongly about. Surely, in a democracy, an individual is at liberty to discuss, express, and debate his personal views. This does not mean that Mr. Pitroda's views always reflect the position of the Indian National Congress," Ramesh posted on X.

"Many times they do not. Sensationalising his comments now and tearing them out of context are deliberate and desperate attempts at diverting attention away from Narendra Modi's malicious and mischievous election campaign; which is anchored ONLY in lies and more lies," he added.

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