The National Commission for Women (NCW) issued a notice on Thursday to Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his “extremely misogynistic, offensive and unethical” remarks against Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at a rally in Jaipur.
In the notice, the NCW said it has taken suo motu cognisance of news reports which appeared in various print and electronic media on 9 January “wherein it is reported that you have allegedly made remarks insulting against a woman minister”.
NCW chief Rekha Sharma tweeted:
Gandhi at the farmers’ rally on Wednesday had said, “The watchman with a 56-inch chest ran away and told a woman, Sitharaman ji, defend me. I won’t be able to defend myself, defend me.”
The NCW in the notice said, “It has been reported that you allegedly said “….. the PM ran away and asked a ‘mahila ‘- a veiled reference to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman – to defend him”.
The commission said the remarks are extremely misogynistic, offensive, unethical and shows an extreme disrespect towards the dignity and honour of women in general.
It also said that the NCW “strongly condemns such irresponsible and disparaging views of persons holding responsible positions”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tore into Gandhi for his remarks, too. Mounting a fresh offensive against the Congress as well as the SP and the BSP in rallies in Solapur in Maharashtra and Agra in Uttar Pradesh, Modi also called himself a chowkidar (watchman) who can pick a wrongdoer even in darkness in his fight against corruption.
Modi said his “
Modi said Sitharaman had floored the Opposition in the Lok Sabha by coming up with “fact after fact” on the Rafale deal.
“They are bent upon insulting a woman defence minister,” he said, without naming Gandhi.
“This is not an insult to a woman, but an insult to entire India’s women power, for which these irresponsible leaders will have to pay the price.”
The prime minister said it was a matter of pride that a woman had become defence minister for the first time in the country.
Reacting to the prime minister’s scathing criticism, Gandhi, in a tweet, hit below the belt again: “With all due respect Modi Ji, in our culture respect for women begins at home.” This is being seen as a remark about Jashodaben, whom the then future prime minister had left behind at home in pursuit of sannyasa, which used to attract Narendra Damodar Modi during his early youth.