AAP leader Ashutosh’s comments on sexual affairs of great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru have opened a can of worms. While Opposition leaders are gunning for his head, seeking an apology, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal is silent even as the former journalist-turned-politician has apparently questioned the party’s decision to sack state Cabinet minister Sandeep Kumar over a sex tape.
In a blog on ndtv.com questioning Sandeep’s sacking from the Delhi cabinet over the private sex tape, Ashutosh drew parallels with “affairs” of leaders like Nehru, Gandhi, Ram Manohar Lohia, George Fernandes, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and even Chinese leader Mao Je Dong. Saying that there have been several leaders who “lived with their desires beyond social boundaries”, Ashutosh questioned as to why a private sexual act by a politician be considered a reason for his sacking from a public office.
Here are what he said about different leaders:
“Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru’s reported affairs with many female colleagues were juicy gossip but it didn’t spoil his political career. His relationship with Edwina Mountbatten is widely discussed. The entire world knew about it.”
“History is also witness to the fact that top leaders of the Congress in 1910s were worried about Gandhiji’s relationship with Sarla Chaudhary, who was distantly related to Rabindra Nath Tagore. Gandhi Ji had confessed that Sarla was his spiritual wife… Gandhiji in his later days slept naked with his two nieces to experiment with celibacy.”
On Ram Manohar Lohia
Socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia … had a lifelong partner and lived with her without marriage.”
On George Fernandes
“George Fernandes was married to Laila Kabir, but this was never a problem for his friendship with Jaya Jaitley.”
On Atal Bihari Vajpayee
“Atal Bihari Vajpayee was not married… He openly lived with his college friend and society did not object even once.”
On Mao Je Dong
“According to his biographer Zhisui Li, Mao was so obsessed with sex that he needed young girls every night; special arrangements were been made by his bodyguards wherever he went”.
Among other things, Ashutosh says India has “covered many miles” since the 1960s and sex is no more a taboo. He says virginity is not a virtue anymore. For younger generations these days, it is a “hint of being left behind”.
Interestingly, Ashutosh doesn’t directly question the AAP government for sacking its own minister, over something he believes to be wrong. Instead, he questions the media, society and wonders shy shouldn’t the characters of “great leaders” be “re-assessed.”
While defending Sandeep by arguing with examples of these leaders, Ashutosh has not only put the spotlight on AAP and its chief Kejriwal but also revealed how the party has deviated from its standards. Sure consensual sex between couples, even if one of them is a politician, is not a matter of public interest, but when he records it on a tape for posterity it becomes something in which people can sense a mala fide intent.