In Smriti Irani vs Rahul Gandhi over rape remark, Kanimozhi explains the ‘concern’
In the Lok Sabha, Union Minister Smriti Irani who had defeated Gandhi in his pocket borough Amethi in this year’s national elections, led the charge. She demanded Rahul Gandhi’s apology for his comment and was joined by other lawmakers.Updated: Dec 13, 2019 13:39 IST
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday turned an effort by Rahul Gandhi to criticise the government over the spate of rapes in the country on its head with a sharp counter-offensive that accused the Congress leader of inviting foreigners to rape women.
In the Lok Sabha, Union Minister Smriti Irani who had defeated Gandhi in his pocket borough Amethi in this year’s national elections, led the charge. She demanded Rahul Gandhi’s apology for his comment and was joined by other lawmakers.
At an election rally in Jharkhand, Gandhi had taken a swipe at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party government over sexual assaults. “PM Modi used to say ‘Make in India’ but nowadays wherever you look, it is ‘Rape in India’. In Uttar Pradesh Narendra Modi’s MLA raped a woman, then she met with an accident but Narendra Modi did not utter a word,” Gandhi told an election rally on Thursday.
Watch l ‘Rahul Gandhi gave clarion call to rape’: Smriti Irani lashes out in Lok Sabha
Irani said Rahul Gandhi’s comment was an invitation to rape women.
“This is the first time in history that a leader is giving a clarion call that Indian women should be raped. Is this Rahul Gandhi’s message to the people of the country?” Irani said.
Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi and his deputy Arjun Ram Meghwal joined in, asking women MPs from the opposition camp to clarify their stand to rub it in.
Kanimozhi stood up to respond. She underlined that the comment that was being cited by ruling party leaders was made outside the House, an oblique reference to previous instances when they have been disallowed from raising a point earlier. She continued.
“The prime minister has always been saying Make in India. We respect that… but what is happening in this country. That is what Rahul Gandhi intended to say. Unfortunately, Make in India is not happening and the women in this country are being raped. This is a concern,” she said.
Irani hit out at Kanimozhi too. “I am extremely disheartened that even on issues of crime against women, you couldn’t raise above party lines. I am disgusted,” she said before the Lok Sabha was adjourned till noon.
When it resumed, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also waded in the row and supplemented his party’s attack on Gandhi.