With the dust yet to settle on the controversy surrounding coal block allocations, Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal has stirred up another row by making a sexist remark at a function in Kanpur on Sunday. Incensed at the remark, several women’s organisations staged a protest in the industrial metropolis on Tuesday, hurled footwear at his portrait and burnt his effigies.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has demanded Mr. Jaiswal’s ouster from the Union Cabinet.
Following the protest, Mr. Jaiswal tendered an apology, but only after an explanation was sought by the Congress leadership. The Minister, however, maintained that he was quoted out of context.
The remark was made at a “kavi sammellan” (poetic symposium) to mark his birthday on September 30. While lauding the Indian cricket team for its victory over Pakistan in the T20 World Cup, Mr. Jaiswal has reportedly said that as time passes, the excitement of a victory wears off, just as a wife becomes less charming as she gets older. (“Nayee nayee jeet aur nayee nayee shaadi ka apna alag hi mahatv hota hai, jaise samay beetega jeet purani hoti jayegi, jaise jaise samay beetta hai patni bhi purani ho jaati hai, phir woh mazaa nahin rahta hai”).
The women who staged a protest in Kanpur on Tuesday demanded Mr. Jaiswal’s dismissal from the government and threatened to lodge a complaint with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. They slammed the Minister for ridiculing the sacred institution of marriage, and said his remark was aimed at lowering the dignity of women.
On Tuesday, the Minister also had to face a protest by coal labourers from Chhattisgarh, who gheraoed his residence in Kanpur.