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Vinay Katiyar, Sharad Yadav's remarks on women cause furore

A combo picture of BJP Rajya Sabha member Vinay Katiyar (L) and senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav. File photos   | Photo Credit: Shanker Chakravarty and Sandeep Saxena

BJP Rajya Sabha member from Uttar Pradesh Vinay Katiyar triggered massive outrage on Wednesday with his alleged sexist remark targeted at Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, saying that his party had “prettier female star campaigners” than her.

Ms. Vadra shot back, saying the remark “exposes the BJP’s mindset towards” women in the country.

“Ha ha ha. He’s right... they do! And if that’s all he sees in my colleagues who are such strong, brave and beautiful women that have battled through all sorts of hardships to get where they are, then he makes me laugh even more,” Ms. Vadra said in a statement released by her party.

Ms. Vadra was on Tuesday named as one of the star campaigners for the Congress for the first phase of the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.

When a television channel sought Mr. Katiyar’s view on the impact it would have on the Congress’s prospects, he said: “It won’t make a difference...there are some many other prettier women who are star campaigners. Some of them are heroines... some artists... there are many others more beautiful.” Interestingly, he himself is missing from the BJP’s list of star campaigners.

Drive on social media

The Congress condemned his views and launched a drive against it on social media, where the BJP leader was heavily criticised.

Mr. Surjewala demanded an apology from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.

When BJP State president Keshav Prasad Maurya’s response was sought by journalists, he said he was not aware of the issue. Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the party did not subscribe to Mr. Katiyar’s views. “ Neither the party nor the government subscribes to such a view,” he said. .

Ms. Vadra’s husband Robert Vadra expressed his “shock,” terming the remarks “misogynist and atrocious.” He demanded a public apology from Mr. Katiyar.

Though Mr. Katiyar later tried to justify the context and “good intention” behind his remarks, he did not seem apologetic.

PTI adds...

"Daughter’s honour not bigger than vote"

Mr. Yadav had also said that “the honour of a vote is greater than that of a daughter.”

At an event in Patna on Tuesday, he said, “The importance of the vote has to be told to everyone, everywhere. The honour of the vote is greater than that of a daughter. It a daughter’s honour is compromised, the honour of a village, a locality gets sullied. But, when the honour of the vote is compromised...sold...the honour of the entire region, State and the nation gets sullied.”

Both Katiyar and Sharad unapologetic

Under fierce attack, Mr. Katiyar later said, “I have huge respect for women...I haven’t said anything wrong. I was only replying to a journalist’s question. Priyanka is like my niece.”

Mr. Katiyar, while talking to a TV news channel, insisted that Mr. Sharad Yadav should apologise for his comments on women, but refused to express regret himself, as “I only said beauty does not get votes and what is wrong if someone is beautiful. I am not going to apologise for what I said about beauty.”

Mr. Yadav, panned many times over his “misogynistic” remarks in the past, was completely unapologetic.

“I haven’t said anything wrong. Like the way we love, care and respect our daughters, we should also do the same in case of votes so our society becomes good, our country develops and we have a good government. Those who are taking it in wrong sense is not a good thing. Vote is the engine of our constitution...it is the driving force....everyone has his own point of view,” he added.

In 2015, the former JD(U) chief said in the Rajya Sabha, “The women of the south are dark but they are... their bodies....” He had also spoken about the exquisite dancing skills of South Indian women.

Remarks unacceptable, terms Venkaiah

Union Minister and senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu termed the remarks by the two leaders “unacceptable.”

He said:

“I do not know who made this comment. I saw it in television that Vinay Katiyar’s name is coming and Sharad Yadav’s name is coming. Nobody is expected to make any personal comments particularly on woman. We do not approve it at all. Party does not approve and appreciate any such comments.

“The party does not subscribe. Whoever it is whether it is Priyankaji or somebody else, it is a different matter.

“Woman is a woman. We are all political rivals. We are not enemies also. We have to respect to get respect. All such comments are not acceptable to the party.”

JD(U) ‘sorry’ for Sharad’s remarks

The jJD(U) went into damage control, with it general secretary K.C. Tyagi saying the party was “sorry” if Mr. Yadav’s remarks had hurt anybody.

“We Samajwadis have been of the view that daughter and vote are to be given to superior person. If a daughter is married to a wrong person, only one family is destroyed, but if vote is given to wrong person then it destroys the entire nation ... This is not at all a sexist remark.

“We are sorry if it [Yadav’s statement] has hurt the sentiments of any section of society,” Mr. Tyagi said.

Politicians need to be cautious, says Subhashini Ali

Subhashini Ali, senior CPI(M) leader and All India Democratic Women’s Association president, said politicians need to be cautious when talking about women.

“Sharad Yadav is a mature politician, but off and on he makes comments like these which reflect his faulty understanding of women. Politicians need to exercise great caution while talking about girls and women in this country as they are quite unsafe,” she said.


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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 9:49:47 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Vinay-Katiyar-Sharad-Yadavs-remarks-on-women-cause-furore/article17093169.ece

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