Human resource minister Smriti Irani on Thursday had the entire opposition on their feet in protest in the Rajya Sabha as she quoted from a document issued by a section of students in the JNU that compared goddess Durga to “a sex worker”. She refused to relent claiming that the documents, which also included a poster, were authenticated by the JNU.
“The document said that Durga Puja is a controversial, racist festival where a fairskinned goddess is depicted killing a dark demon. It described Durga as a sex worker sent to entice Mahishasur into marriage.... Every year, thousand of Durga puja pandals are constructed showing her in a bad light, in a sexual position.”
The implication of flagging an insult to a goddess revered in Bengal, a state going to polls in a few months, was not lost.
She also attacked Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for showing support to the students who organised a ‘Mahishasura martyrdom day’ and said: “What is his political need to support those who insult Durga?” She questioned why Gandhi wanted it included in debate for free speech. Aiming to draw attention of the Members from West Bengal, she switched to Bangla, underlining the “insult” that was heaped on the goddess.
On Wednesday, BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi slammed the Left in Kerala over alleged killings committed by its cadres in the southern state. “They have committed Taliban fashion of executions,” she alleged.
Union minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday lashed out at the Congress for supporting the Left. He suggested that the Congress was willing to echo the Left’s views on JNU as it could be an indication of growing ties between the parties ahead of the West Bengal polls.
He said the Congress seems to have jumped the gun by visiting JNU ‘without giving it a prior thought’ in view of the upcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal.
“The tragedy of Bengal is that there are three Congress parties - the Congress, the Trinamool Congress and Congress Marxist” he said.
His comment drew a quick repartee from Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien who objected and said his party chief separated from the Congress in 1998.