They agreed on one thing, “harassment of women”, but their harassers were solely from each other’s political party. On Monday, the Civic Centre turned into a playground of finger-pointing with women councillors of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation complaining about “all kinds of harassment” by male colleagues, specifically from the Congress and the BJP – depending on who you spoke to.
It all began with Congress councillors flooding the pit to disrupt the House meeting over an unrelated issue and it ended with 20 Bharatiya Janata Party women councillors headed by the North Delhi Mayor Mira Aggarwal meeting Lieutenant-Governor Tejendra Khanna seeking adequate security in the House. The L-G asked them to bring a proposal to appoint ten marshals to maintain law and order during the House proceedings.
BJP’s women councillors first staged a walk out after three of them alleged that Devender Kumar, a Congress councillor, misbehaved with them while shouting slogans in the House. “He spoke to us rudely and threw empty bottles at us,” said councillor Usha Mehta. “Till the Congress councillors apologise for their behaviour, we will not call off our demonstration,” said BJP councillor Rajni Abhi.
Leader of Opposition Mukesh Goel was, however, quick to make one of his women councillors, Guddi Devi speak up against Ram Kishan Bansiwal, a BJP member, who she said passed comments and behaved inappropriately during the proceedings of the House.
“CCTV cameras record all the proceedings of the House and if a councillor has misbehaved we can find out,” said a confident Mr. Goel, by means of absolving his partymen. “But the Mayor should support all women councillors not just the ones from the BJP. She is the NDMC’s Mayor not the BJP’s Mayor,” he added.
With 50 per cent reservation for women in the House, male councillors should behave with some decorum, said Ms. Aggarwal.