RAHUL GANDHI has many admirable qualities. He is a man of extraordinary courage. In the last 10 years, his opponents in the Bharatiya Janata Party have mounted a vicious and relentless campaign of calumny against him. He has faced it with admirable modesty. He is a man of compassion. He is the only leader who has given some space for “mohabbat” (love) in today’s political discourse, which is otherwise filled with hatred and negativity.

Nevertheless, I must point out that his recent high-pitched advocacy of the caste census as a panacea for ending India’s stark wealth and developmental disparities is deeply flawed. His vision of economic “nyay” (justice) in the form of redistribution of wealth is unimplementable. Furthermore, it is unconstitutional and divisive insofar as it gives primacy to “caste” and “minorities” in determining who has how much share in the nation’s wealth.

Congress supporters will retort by saying, “Look at our manifesto. It does not talk about redistribution of wealth.” Technically, they are right. This is what the manifesto states: “Congress will conduct a nation-wide Socio-Economic and Caste Census to enumerate the castes and sub-castes and their socio-economic conditions. Based on the data, we will strengthen the agenda for affirmative action.”