A seemingly tongue-in-cheek comment turned into a foot-in-mouth moment for NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule, as the Lok Sabha lawmaker’s remarks that MPs indulge in small talk during lengthy debates in Parliament sparked a swirling controversy.
Sule faced flak from political leaders as well as on social media after she told a group of female students in Maharashtra’s Nashik district on Thursday that she discusses matters like sarees with fellow legislators if discussions in the House get repetitive.
“When I go to Parliament, I hear the first speech, the second speech and the third speech. Till the fourth speech, the one who is speaking is saying the same things the earlier speakers have said,” she said at an event organised by the Nashik-based Fravashi International Academy.
“If you ask me what was said, after the fourth speech, I am unable to do so. We speak to some other MP… We discuss things like: from where did you buy your saree and from where did I get mine.”
After facing a wave of criticism on the issue, the Baramati MP said on Friday that she was misquoted.
Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe said Sule’s remarks were irresponsible.
“There is plenty of work while Parliament session is on. To make such comments demeans the sincere women legislators and MPs who have struggled to become House members,” she said.
Sule’s remarks have triggered outrage at a time when MPs have been facing criticism over Parliament seeing repeated disruptions leading to crucial legislative agenda being stalled.
Senior advocate and women’s rights activist Abha Singh termed the MP’s comments “highly shameful” and demanded her resignation, saying every minute of Parliament was precious.
“She has been elected and sent there to shape the country’s future, to decide for the welfare of the common man. And if in this precious time, she is wasting on gossiping and discussing about saris than it is highly shameful and condemnable,” Singh told ANI.
“I think she should step down. Just because she is Sharad Pawar’s daughter, she has reached Parliament. And that is why everybody says that dynasty politics should not be allowed in India.”
Sule also said in the same speech that male MPs tease her that if there’s 50% reservation for women in Parliament, discussions would only revolve around parlours, facials and sarees.
“I have told them many times that you are the ones who make comments on sarees and have not done much welfare for the country,” she said. “So it should not be a problem to give the proposal a chance.”
The twitterverse had a few things to say on this:
Of course Supriya Sule has to talk about saris in Parliament. What else can she talk about, her father's career as an honest politician?— lindsay pereira (@lindsaypereira) January 8, 2016
Supriya Sule says they discuss Sarees in Parliament. Thus shutting up all those trolls who say nothing is discussed in Parliament— Gappistan Radio (@GappistanRadio) January 8, 2016
Supriya Sule trolled for a comment that delivered bitter truth wrapped in sense of humour, something even netas have more of than us hacks— Kamlesh Singh (@kamleshksingh) January 8, 2016
Supriya Sule: We discuss sarees in Parliament? Arvind Kejriwa: Is it true? Han Solo: pic.twitter.com/tlFKigFNdF— Nirmalya Dutta (@nemo_dutta23) January 8, 2016