Unbecoming of politicians to speak like this: Sushma Swaraj on Rahul Gandhi’s ‘women in shorts’ dig at RSS

Comparing the former governments, Swaraj, charged that "prior to our government, no woman was ever a member of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS, whereas 50 per cent of the members today are women.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Updated: October 15, 2017 8:10 am
Sushma Swaraj, Rahul Gandhi, Women in Shorts, Women chief ministers, BJP Women politicians, Sushma Swaraj on Rahul, India News, Indian Express Sushma Swaraj in Ahmedabad on Saturday. (Source: Express Photo/Javed Raja)

Slamming Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on his ‘women in shorts at RSS camps’ comment made during his recent visit to Gujarat, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj stated that it is unbecoming of politicians to speak like this.

Replying to a question raised by a woman from Jamangar at BJP’s ‘Mahila Town hall’ at Ahmedabad Saturday, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj stated “ek neta ko aisi bat kahna shobha nahi deta.”

Further adding she said that Rahulji is Congress party’s vice president, and talks are on, on his becoming the national president. “Agar vo hum se ye puchte ki RSS me mahilaon ko anumati kyun nahi hai toh main nischit unhe jawab deti. Par jis anuchit aur abhdara bhasha me unhone ye sawal pucha hai mujhe lagta hai ki ye abhadra prashna patrata hi nahi rakhta uttar dene ka isliye is abhadra prashan ka uttar main nahi dena chahti. (Had Rahul Gandhi asked us why women are not allowed to wear shorts in the RSS, I would have definitely responded. But given the inappropriate and indecent language, he had used, I do not think this question deserves an answer).

Also Read | Haven’t seen a single woman in RSS wearing shorts, says Rahul Gandhi

During her address, the minister also rejected allegations that the BJP is an “anti-women party,” saying that it has given “four women chief ministers, two of whom are sitting here (referring to herself and Anandiben Patel) and four women Governors.”

Comparing the former governments, Swaraj, charged that “prior to our government, no woman was ever a member of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS)” whereas 50 per cent of the members today are women, she said referring to her own appointment as External Affairs Minister and that of Nirmala Sitharaman as Defence Minister this year making it tow out of four CCS members being females.

Making an announcement on voting right of NRIs, the MoEA while replying to a question by Jagruti Patel from Ahmedabad said that the government has decided to give voting right to NRIs. “There needs to be an amendment made in the Representation of the People Act which will be done through Parliament as the central government has already decided that NRIs should be given voting rights,” she announced.

Elaborating how it can be used, she said, ‘Earlier they have to come here and vote but now they can authorise someone here to cast vote on his behalf as a proxy vote. This authorisation letter can be taken to the returning officer to cast the vote. But this decision has been made on trust factor and that trust has to be maintained so please cast the vote to whom you have been authorised to.”

When a Muslim woman from Ahmedabad asked her why it took 70 years to identify the issue of triple talaq as a social cause, the Union Minister said, “I would say it did not take 70 years but it took 1300 years to end this. As this is a mindset and when mindset is combined with vote bank politics then it gets more difficult to fight against it. And this was unfortunate for this country that it was combined with vote bank. There were some social evils in Hindu society too like Sati and child marriage but social reformers like Raja Rammohan Ray, Swami Dayanand Saraswati and Jyotiba Phule. So either you could have picked social reformers from your society and end this but what happened was contrary that vote bank politics did not allow them to come out. And contrary to this, they said that ‘ye tumhare shariya ka sawal hai. Ye tumhare personal law ka sawal hai isme koi dakhal nahi de sakta aur aise hi karke isko unhone banaye rakhs. Par chaliye der aye durust aye,” she said.

On equal rights for women, Swaraj said a lot has been done but a lot needs to be done for women while replying to a woman from Godhra on when will women get equal rights. “This too is a mindset, for which the struggle is going on from Dangal movie to ‘chunaavi dangal”, she added.

On the rescue operation of 49 nurses from Iraq during a waging war, Sushma Swaraj credited the success to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the informal and friendly relations he makes during his foreign visits.

“There was a time when only two countries name would come when it came to rescuing their citizens in rescuing from foreign lands-America and Israel. When we were rescuing Indians from Yemen, 48 countries like America, Germany, and France requested us to rescue their citizens too as they were not able to.”

Swaraj went on to add, “And why we were able to, let me tell you this also. Only for one reason because during his Saudi Arabia visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi developed so personal relations with the King of Saudi Arabia that when I told him that please talk to him once and request him to stop shelling for a few days so that Indians are saved. The PM immediately spoke to him. To which he agreed that they will stop it for two hours from 9 till 11. So this personal relation he (Modi) creates during his foreign visits, relations between countries is formal but this is an informal friendly relation and only because of that Saudi Arabia stopped shelling and we could rescue Indians as well as 1947 citizens of 48 countries,” she added.

In last three years, as many as 88,302 Indians stranded in foreign countries have been safely rescued and brought back home only on the basis of the Indian passport and not their religion, caste, gender or any other thing.

Sakshi Sharma, a postgraduate student of mass communication referring to Sushma Swaraj’s address at the 72nd session of United Nations General Assembly which helped develop pressure on Pakistan said despite that we have not been successful in tightening a noose on terrorism activities funded by Pakistan and asked why no steps have been taken on that front by the government?

Replying to this she said, whenever one country is hostile to another there are two ways in which we can develop pressure: kutnitik (diplomatic) and samuhik (collective) levels. As you said that the UN General Assembly is the largest international platform. There cannot be a bigger diplomatic step than presenting Pakistan as a terrorist country putting forth its terrorist activities.

As far as the collective measure goes, when the government felt the need, it did not even miss on hitting Pakistan through a surgical strike. So at both levels, expected actions against Pakistan has been taken.

Responding to a question, what can we expect from the government in helping out a woman to strike a balance between job and family? Swaraj said, “entire focus on office and at home with a deviated mind you will never do justice to any of these. “I entered into politics at an age of 27 years. I was the first youngest cabinet minister at the age of 25. From then till now, this question never came to my mind on how to strike a balance. For a balance, family’s support is very important. I got my husband’s support, my family’s support. Always remember that when you are at home, your husband needs a wife, not a MP or a minister. Even when I am with my daughter, she needs a mother not a minister.”

On a lighter note, when a woman lamented that husbands do not support wives, she replied,“Arey humne Doklam ko mana liya, aap husband ki baat karti hain.

Shall we spend so much on bullet train when there are so many other major problems in the country, asked Priya Pandya through Facebook. “Kya main ye samjhun ki bullet train nahi ayegi toh anya sab samsayaon ka samadhan ho jayega ya main ye samjhun ki bullet train a jayegi toh samasyaon ka samadhan ruk jayega,” replied the Union Minister who is popular to resolve citizens’ issues through 140 characters on Twitter. “Country needs to move forward with the society. The interest rate is peanuts. Let me tell you that expenditure on bullet train is very less. If it will tell you the interest of the loan that we have received you will laugh. It is 0.01 per cent or 1 paise on Rs 100 annually but this will help immensely in increasing the speed of development.”

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