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From politically incorrect to outright sexist: Foot-in-mouth remarks of the week

Here are some controversial remarks made by politicians this week.

india Updated: Oct 08, 2017 13:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Donald Trump,Boris Johnson,Controversial remark
Britain's foreign secretary Boris Johnson said on Tuesday Libya can become a new Dubai if it can clear the dead bodies away.(Reuters)

For some politicians, their work and controversial remarks go hand in hand. From absurdly insensitive to inappropriate, these remarks instantly make headlines in this age of 24-hour TV news channels and social media.

Here are a few remarks that prompted outrage in the past week.

1) Foot, meet mouth

Chhattisgarh BJP MP Banshilal Mahto triggered a controversy after allegedly describing the state’s girls as ‘tana-tan’, a colloquial term that opposition parties said was sexist.

A video purportedly showing Mahto making the remarks at a wrestling competition at Korba on October 2 has surfaced and is being shared on social media. In the video, Mahto is purportedly heard saying: “Majaak mein bhale le liya jataa hai inn baaton ko, lekin Bhaiyalal Rajwade aksar ye baat kahte hain kee Korba ki turi aur Chhattisgarh ki ladiyan tana-tan ho gayi hain (People often take it as a joke, but Bhaiyalal Rajwade [Chhattisgarh sports minister] often says that turis [young girls in Chhattisgarhi dialect] from Korba and Chhattisgarh’s girls have become tana-tan).”

Congress leader TS Singh Deo said on Wednesday Mahto should apologise and legal action should be taken against him. “This is disrespect for women and shows the mentality of the MP,” added Deo, the leader of the opposition in the state assembly.

2) Trump hits Puerto Rico while its down

US President Donald Trump lashed out at the mayor of San Juan in storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, contemptuous of their claims of a laggard US response to the natural disaster.

“Such poor leadership ability by the Mayor of San Juan, and others in Puerto Rico, who are not able to get their workers to help,” Trump said in a series of tweets a day after the capital city’s mayor appealed for help “to save us from dying.”

“They want everything to be done for them when it should be a community effort,” Trump wrote from his New Jersey golf club.

It was an unusually pointed rebuke from the president in the heat of a disaster — a time when leaders often put aside partisan differences in the name of solidarity, according to The Associated Press. But it was a reminder of Trump’s unrelenting penchant for punching back against critics, whatever the circumstances.

3) Inappropriate posters at Hindu College

Students groups have condemned a poster allegedly put up at the Delhi University’s Hindu College for objectifying women.

Women’s campaign, Pinjra Tod, shared an image of the alleged poster on social media that was reportedly put up in the college during Fresher’s Day celebrations last week.

The Pinjra Tod had called the poster one of “the many ways in which patriarchy reinforces itself everyday in our campuses to convey the message that we may be studying in a university, we may be sitting in classes together, but women are to be primarily seen as sexual objects of exchange amongst men.”

4) Boris Johnson’s ‘dead body’ joke

British foreign secretary Boris Johnson quipped on Tuesday that Libya can become a new Dubai if it can clear the dead bodies away, the latest gaffe by Britain’s top diplomat.

“They’ve got a brilliant vision to turn Sirte, with the help of the municipality of Sirte, to turn it into the next Dubai,” Johnson said. “The only thing they’ve got to do is clear the dead bodies away and then we will be there.”

Some activists from Prime Minister Theresa May’s party laughed at the joke before the chair of the event changed the subject, saying: “Next question.”

Britain’s ambassador to Myanmar was recently forced to interrupt Johnson as he tried to recite a nostalgic colonial poem by Rudyard Kipling in public during a visit to the country’s most famous Buddhist site. The foreign secretary was accused of “incredible insensitivity”.

With inputs from The Associated Press and Reuters

First Published: Oct 08, 2017 13:31 IST