HARYANA WOMEN and Child Development Minister Kavita Jain was in tears in the Assembly on Wednesday after Congress member Geeta Bhukkal made some personal remarks against her. It led to ruckus in the House with BJP members announcing that they wouldn’t allow the House to function till Bhukkal apologised for her remarks. The Assembly even passed a motion against Bhukkal to condemn her act. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, women members, cutting across party lines, were told to freely air their views after a proposal was passed by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ram Bilas Sharma. Meanwhile, a verbal duel between Jain and Bhukkal took an unexpected turn after which the minister broke into tears.
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It all began when Bhukkal said it was regrettable that the BJP government was not holding any state-level programme to celebrate International Women’s Day. However, Jain made it clear that a state-level programme would be held in Sonepat on March 15 to honour women from various fields. “The function, which was to be held today, has been postponed in view of the Assembly session,” she said. Bhukkal, however, said that by doing so, the significance of the day was lost while stressing the need to celebrate such events on the same day. “I condemn the decision of the state government to not celebrate International Women’s Day today. The Minister (Kavita) is giving a wrong statement in the House. She does not look into her files, it is her husband Rajiv Jain (senior state BJP leader) who does that,” said Bhukkal, a former education minister and three-time MLA.
This infuriated Kavita, who asked Bhukkal to apologise and requested Deputy Speaker Santosh Yadav, who was in the Chair, to remove her from the House if she did not apologise. Soon, Jain was joined by other BJP members, too, to criticise the Congress member’s remarks. Sharma suggested that Bhukkal apologise for her remarks. Bhukkal stood up to say that she wanted to clarify her point but the BJP members insisted on an apology, adding that Bhukkal’s comments were an insult to womanhood.
The BJP members also raised Bharat Mata Ki Jai slogans. Jain repeatedly said she (Bhukkal) has proved that “a woman is woman’s biggest enemy”. “She is insulting a woman,” alleged Jain, a two-time MLA. Intervening in the matter, the deputy speaker said Bhukkal’s comments were not in good taste. Later, Jain broke into tears prompting BJP’s Kalka MLA Latika Sharma and Hisar MLA Kamal Gupta from her party to rush towards her to console her. Pointing towards Congress legislators, Finance Minister Captain Abhimanyu said, “You (Cong MLAs) are laughing when a woman minister is weeping.”
Seeing Jain cry, Sharma quickly moved the motion to condemn the remark made by the Congress MLA which was passed by the Assembly. “I only said that during Congress’s time, International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8 and the present government decided to postpone it. Even if the day falls during the Assembly session, that does not mean you do not observe the day,” Bhukkal said later while speaking to the reporters. “The BJP government does not want that on International Women’s Day, women MLAs from the opposition should raise their points,” she added. When asked about the personal comment against Jain, Bhukkal said, “Kavita Jain is a senior minister. She also said that a woman is woman’s enemy. Does it behove of her to say that? It was not my intention that she should cry. She could have put across her point of view on what I said and not cried.”