Both Congress and BJP are guilty of making sexism normal
Congress President Rahul Gandhi's remarks on Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has sparked outrage with BJP and netizens slamming him. His comment, "PM Narendra Modi and sent a woman (Sitharaman) to defend himself on Rafale deal," reeks of sexism. But this isn't the first time politicians passed such comments. Congress and BJP, both, have a history of taking the sexism route. Here's looking at them.
Let's start with Congress leaders. In 2013, former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh called Meenakshi Natrajan, a former close aide of RaGa, a 100% tunch maal. Once he tweeted, Arvind Kejriwal was like actress Rakhi Sawant, he exposed a lot but had no substance. In 2012, spokesperson Sanjay Nirupam during a TV debate told Smriti Irani she was a thumke lagane wali.
Notably, when Nirupam questioned Irani's knowledge about politics and referred to her career as a TV actress, the latter filed a defamation case against him. He filed a case too. However, On 19 December 2018, the Delhi HC quashed case against Irani, not against Nirupam.
In 2012, former Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said a woman loses her charm after marriage. Later, after controversy sparked he apologized saying his words were taken out of context. Congress minister Satyadev Katare in 2012 said no man would harass a woman if she doesn't look at him in 'suggestive manner'. Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit spoke against women protesting after 2012 Nirbhaya case.
"It is becoming fashionable to land up on the streets with candle in hand. They go to discotheques. I am very well versed with student activism and I can bet on it that most of the protesters are not students," Abhijit had said.
But if you thought BJP leaders are any better, you are obviously wrong. While PM Modi slammed RaGa for his comments on Sitharaman, saying she is the pride of the nation, he is guilty of passing problematic statements. In an election rally in Himachal Pradesh, PM Modi said about Shashi Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar, "Wow, what a girlfriend. Have you ever seen Rs. 50-crore girlfriend?"
In December 2018, PM Modi was slammed by people on social media and by the Congress for his vidhwa remark. Addressing a rally, he had said, "Ye Congress ki kaunsi vidhwa thi, jiske khaatey mein rupaya jata tha? (Who was that Congress's widow in whose account this money used to go?)." He was referring to schemes of UPA which were allegedly reeked of corruption.
Former Goa Chief Minister in 2015 told nurses they shouldn't protest in the sun as it could darken their complexion and dampen their prospects of marriage. Later, he denied making such a statement. In 2015, Giriraj Singh asked Congress if the party would have accepted Sonia Gandhi as the 'leader' if her skin wasn't 'white'. Indian politicians, divided by ideologies, united by sexism.