Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's allegations of gender bias in RSS and BJP have not gone down well with the ruling party. Reacting strongly to Gandhi's remarks, Union minister Smriti Irani demanded an apology over his 'indecent and derogatory' statement.
"If Rahulji believes that wearing shorts in India is a sign of empowerment, as a woman I want to contradict it," said Ms Irani, who was in Mr Gandhi's Lok Sabha constituency in Uttar Pradesh, Amethi and addressed a mega rally with BJP chief Amit Shah.
BJP leader and former Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel stated that Gandhi has insulted women with his comments. She further went on ask if Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi approve of the Congress scion’s statement.
In a strongly-worded statement, Anandiben said the Congress would face electoral debacle in the forthcoming polls in Gujarat if Gandhi does not apologise.
Sonia Gandhi aur Rahul ki behen ko poochna aise shabd mahilaaon ke baare me usne bole,kya wo theek hai,kya aapko pasand aaya:Anandiben Patel
Countering BJP’s accusations, Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil defended Gandhi’s comment about women and RSS. “Rahul was talking about women empowerment, equal rights; RSS has no women in its body,” Gohil said, alleging that BJP harbours an “anti-women mindset”. The Congress leader further said the BJP was trying to mislead people by twisting Gandhi’s comment on women empowerment.
“You will never see women sharing space with RSS leaders, roaming around in shorts; they look down upon women,” Gohil added.
Earlier, Rahul Gandhi targeted the RSS and BJP alleging that they did not give any importance to women and asked how many of them were seen attending the Sangh’s ‘shakhas’.
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He said in contrast, women work at every level in the Congress. “The BJP’s thinking is that till women are silent they are good, when they start speaking up they try to shut them (women) up,” Gandhi said at a gathering of students here on the second day of his election campaign in Gujarat.
“Their organisation is the RSS. How many women are there in the RSS... Have you ever seen any woman in shakhas wearing shorts?” he said in a sarcastic tone.
“In the Congress you will see women at every level in the organisation,” he said.
Khakhi shorts were a trademark of RSS volunteers which they used to wear during their drills in the past, before they changed to full pants over an year back.
Gandhi also said that if his party’s government comes to power in Gujarat, it will give importance to women and try to resolve their issues.
The Congress leader began his second day of ‘Navsarjan Yatra’ in central Gujarat region from Vadodara by addressing the students. He addressed 10 meetings yesterday and offered prayers at the famous Santram Temple in Nadiad. In the first leg of the Navsarjan Yatra last month, Gandhi had travelled in the Saurashtra.
(With Inputs from PTI)