All the male MPs and ministers of the BJP were seen laughing and clapping as the PM took a jibe at former union minister Renuka Chowdhary.
New Delhi: Coming out in strong defence of former union minister Renuka Chowdhury, women leaders of the Congress party have lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for mocking Chowdhury in the Rajya Sabha Wednesday for laughing loudly during his remarks on Aadhaar.
“Sabhapati ji meri aapse vinti hai Renuka ji ko kuch mat kahiye. Ramayan serial ke baad aisi hansi sunne ka saubhagya aaj jaake mila hai. (Chairman sir, I request you to not say anything to Renukaji. After the Ramayan serial, we have got the fortune of hearing this kind of laughter today),” the PM had said.
Hours later, Amit Malviya, who heads the BJP’s IT cell, tweeted a video of Surpnakha, a demon in the Ramayana, comparing Chowdhary’s laughter to hers.
While BJP MP Poonam Mahajan said she was not quite sure of what happened in the Rajya Sabha, and that she does not know why Chowdhury was laughing “so loudly,” Congress leaders who spoke to ThePrint came down heavily on the PM for what they described as his “regressive mindset”.
Calling the PM’s comment a “cheap” and “sexist” one, Congress MP Sushmita Dev said, “The Prime Minister has a psychological block in understanding the role of women in Indian society since he has abandoned his own mother and his own wife.”
Recalling other instances where the Prime Minister has been accused of making sexist comments, like calling Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s late wife Sunanda Tharoor a “50-crore-rupee girlfriend”, Dev said his comments are akin to “cat calls on a street”.
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi too strongly defended Chowdhary arguing that “As a woman, I have a massive problem when another woman is addressed in this manner.”
“It is highly unbecoming of the PM of the country to speak this way, especially when he talks so big on women empowerment,” she added.
In what was a rather telling spectacle, all the male MPs and ministers of the BJP were seen laughing and clapping as the PM took a jibe at Chowdhary, while defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman was seen sitting quietly.
“Nirmala Sitharaman did not laugh at all…But what does it say about all the men who were clapping loudly,” asked Chaturvedi. “What message goes to the youth when the PM and ministers pull down an empowered woman like Ms. Renuka Chowdhary just for laughing?”
Senior Congress leader and former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit was, however, relatively measured in calling the jibe a sexist one. “It is not the kind of language which behoves the PM of a country,” she said.