‘Insult to India’s women power’: PM Narendra Modi over Rahul Gandhi’s remark on Nirmala Sitharaman
Addressing a rally in Jaipur, Gandhi alleged that Modi ran away from last week’s debate and fielded Nirmala Sitharaman, drawing a sharp response from Modi who attacked the Opposition at an event in Agra.Updated: Jan 09, 2019 23:55 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday accused the Opposition of what he called an insult to India’s “women’s power” after a remark by Congress president Rahul Gandhi that India’s woman defence minister could not defend Modi in a Parliament debate on the controversial Rafale jet deal.
Addressing a rally in Jaipur, Gandhi alleged that Modi ran away from last week’s debate and fielded Nirmala Sitharaman, drawing a sharp response from Modi who attacked the Opposition at an event in Agra. “Janta ki adalat se ek 56-inch ki chaati wala chowkidaar bhag gaya aur ek mahila se kehta hain ‘Sitharamanji, aap meri raksha kijiye...’ [The watchman with 56-inch chest fled from the court of the people and told a woman, ‘Sitharamanji, you save me]’,” Gandhi said, referring to Modi.
“But you saw [that for] 2.5 hours [of the debate] mahila raksha nahi kar payi [she could not defend]...,” he said, keeping the heat on the government over the Rafale deal, which his party says did not follow procedures.
In Uttar Pradesh’s Agra, Modi said Sitharaman gave a proper reply to the Opposition in the Lok Sabha by coming up with “fact after fact” on the Rafale deal. “They are bent upon insulting a woman defence minister,” he said, without naming Gandhi. “This is not an insult to a woman, but an insult to entire India’s women’s power, for which these irresponsible leaders will have to pay the price,” Modi added.
National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma said a notice will be issued to Gandhi on Thursday. “As a leader people look up to, he should not give such misogynist statements where he thinks that a woman is a weak person...What does he mean? I want a clarification because it gives a very wrong impression when a leader says such things,” Sharma said.
In Jaipur, Gandhi also asked farmers and youngsters not be on the back foot anymore, promising farm loan waivers at the national level if the Congress won the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. In the election results announced in December, Gandhi’s party won the three key heartland states of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, where the newly elected governments announced farm loan waivers.
In Agra, Modi also launched a veiled attack on the rivals-turned-friends Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) without taking names. “Those who were not prepared to see each other’s faces are joining each other because they are afraid of chowkidar whom they want to go away. If chowkidar goes, they will loot the nation,” said Modi. SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said Modi was getting the jitters after reports of a possible alliance between SP and the BSP. In a press statement, he said the people were not happy with the ruling BJP’s “false promises”.
First Published: Jan 09, 2019 23:55 IST