BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s “lipstick and powder” statement may have caused an outrage forcing his party to disassociate itself from his remark, but more political leaders came out on Tuesday against an anti-politician campaign by the media.
Even Arun Jaitely, BJP general secretary, who had distanced the party from Naqvi’s remarks on Monday, said: “The anti-politician rhetoric is part of the efforts to protect the government from criticism of its failures. Why should political leaders who are for strong anti-terrorism steps be hated by the people as is being made out.”
Digvijay Singh, Congress general secretary, said: “Why is the media behind this campaign against politicians? This is a democracy where politicians are a must.”
CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan said he did not approve of a politician-bashing campaign as all of them were not of the same stock.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also said he did not support such a campaign.
The RSS said Naqvi’s sentiments were justified but he could have been more careful with words. Ram Madhav, a member of the RSS’ national executive, said it was important for the people and the political establishment to understand that together they constitute the democratic polity of the country.
“The leaders should be careful about the words they choose," Madhav said. “The people in a democracy have a right to protest though this was not the right time to do so.”
“Their anger is justified. However, right now the priority of the entire nation should be to rise up against the terrorists and their sponsors across the border.”
A NGO, Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), carried lipsticks and talcum powder boxes with them, besides placards to the BJP headquarters here. They asked passers-by to sign a statement condemning Naqvi’s remarks and demanded an apology from the BJP.
ANHAD’s Shabnam Hashmi said: “Women who use lipsticks and powder also have a right to protest. Democracy does not debar them.”