Attacking opponents with personal remarks is not new to India's political discourse and women politicians certainly get their fair share with many bordering on sexism.
Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jayakaran Gupta stirred a row during a public rally in Meerut for election campaigning when he said that a woman who wore skirts is now visiting temples in sarees, an apparent reference to Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
“One Congress leader loudly asks, acche din aaye (did you see good times)? They can’t see acche din when a skirt waali bai (those who wear skirts) is visiting temples in saris and those who avoid Ganga waters are treating it as holy,” Jayakaran Gupta was quoted as saying to a gathering.
After the outrage followed his remark, Jayakaran Gupta later defended it, saying, “I’ve not made a comment at anyone. I had said ‘skirt waali bai jinko mandir jaane se parhez tha woh saree pehenkar mandir-mandir ja rahi hain’. Many people are doing that. Now, you need to see who fits under that description.”
BJP’s Jayakaran Gupta, Meerut: I’ve not made a comment at anyone. I had said ‘skirt waali bai jinko mandir jaane se parhez tha woh saree pehenkar mandir-mandir ja rahi hain’. Many people are doing that. Now, you need to see who fits under that description. pic.twitter.com/4FVoLtUW01
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) April 3, 2019
Attacking opponents with personal remarks is not new to India’s political discourse and women politicians certainly get their fair share with many bordering on sexism.
Since Priyanka Gandhi, sister of the Gandhi scion, Rahul, joined politics as Congress general secretary and in charge of the party’s campaign in east Uttar Pradesh, quite a few remarks have been made on her clothes.
In March, Harish Dwivedi, a BJP lawmaker in Uttar Pradesh, had made a comment, saying, “Priyanka Gandhi wears jeans-top in Delhi but wears sari and sindoor when she comes to rural areas.”
Kailash Vijayavargiya, another senior BJP leader, had said that the Congress party was fielding “chocolatey faces” in the election battleground as it had a shortage in terms of strong leaders. He later retracted it by saying that he had meant filmstars, not any political leaders.
And not just the BJP, the Congress party along with its allies have also made sexist remarks. Sajjan Singh Verma, a Madhya Pradesh minister, had later said, “It is BJP’s bad luck that the party does not have someone as beautiful as Priyanka Gandhi. They have one Hema Malini and make her dance to classical songs for votes.”
On Monday, Jaydeep Kawade, a Congress ally in Maharashtra, made disparaging remarks against Union Minister Smriti Irani, who has been fielded by the BJP for Amethi against Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.