Uttarakhand BJP chief calls leader of opposition ‘Budhiya’, stirs political storm
A political storm is raging in Uttarakhand after the ruling BJP’s state president, Bansidhar Bhagat, called the leader of opposition and a senior Congress leader, Indira Hridayesh, a ‘Budhiya’ (an old woman) while addressing party workers in an event in Bhimtal area of Nainital district on Tuesday evening.
Bhagat use of the term, which was perceived to be derogatory by the Congress party, came while he was responding to the 79-year-old Congress leader’s recent claim that several BJP MLAs were in touch with the grand old party eyeing a switch.
Soon after the video of Bhagat’s address started making the rounds on social media, Congress leaders demanded an immediate apology while some party members burnt his effigy alleging he had “insulted motherhood.”
Bhagat was addressing BJP workers in Bhimtal as part of his ongoing visit to all the 70 constituencies in the state.
“Humari neta-pratipaksha keh rahi bahut se vidhayak humare sampark me hain...Are budhiya tujhse kyun sampark karenge??? Doobte jahaz se koi sampark karega???” (Our Leader of Opposition says that several MLAs are in touch with us. Why would they contact you old woman? What would one want to do with a sinking ship?)
Reacting sharply to his statement, Hridayesh said, she was “hurt and saddened” with the kind of language used by the BJP state president and demanded that the ruling party’s national leadership takes “serious notice” of the incident.
“I was deeply hurt and saddened with the kind of derogatory and highly condemnable language used by BJP state president who symbolizes the party and leads it. If he uses such language, then it is an insult to the motherhood which the women of our hills will never forgive,” said Hridayesh.
“I don’t use such dirty language, so won’t reply to him by stooping to his level. But I request the BJP governments in both state and the Centre and well as their national leadership to take notice of this episode and demand answers from him. Those raising the slogan of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao should at least take care of their language.”
Congress state president Pritam Singh too condemned Bhagat and demanded an apology.
“His words just show the sort of mentality BJP leaders have towards women. He should offer an apology immediately for his highly condemnable language,” said Singh.
Amid the furore over the incident, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat offered an apology to Hridayesh on Twitter at midnight and said that he would call her on Wednesday to apologise again.
“Respected Indira Hridayesh ji, I am very upset today. Women are very respectable to us. I personally apologise to you and all others who are saddened like me. I will speak to you personally on phone and apologise again.” Rawat said.