The Election Commission (EC) Monday sought a response from Jharkhand Chief Electoral Officer over Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Rape in India’ remark he made at a rally in the state last week.
The poll watchdog’s decision to seek the report came after a delegation of BJP’s women Parliamentarians, led by Union Minister Smriti Irani, approached the EC officials to seek “severest possible action” against the Wayanad MP.
Addressing the rally in Jharkhand’s Godda on Thursday, Gandhi had said, “Narendra Modi had said ‘Make in India’ but nowadays wherever you look, it is ‘Rape in India’. In Uttar Pradesh Narendra Modi’s MLA raped a woman, then she met with an accident but Narendra Modi did not utter a word.”
His comments led to an uproar in Parliament, with BJP leaders demanding an apology from Gandhi. The women BJP MP’s accused Gandhi of “using” rape incidents as a “political weapon” to settle scores with PM Modi.
Irani said the Congress had “insulted” the women and men of India and claimed that his remarks amounted to inviting people to rape women. “Who has given Rahul Gandhi the right to say that all women are being raped in the country? Who has given Rahul Gandhi the right to say that every man is a rapist? Who has given Rahul Gandhi the right to tarnish the image of the country for his own politics?” she asked.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also described Gandhi’s remark as ‘horrendous’, saying it was a matter of shame that the senior Congress leader was speaking by forgetting about the dignity of women.
Hitting back at the BJP, Gandhi declared that he would not apologise for his comments. “My name is not Rahul Savarkar, I am Rahul Gandhi. I will never apologise for speaking truth and nor will any Congressman do so. It is Narendra Modi and his assistant Amit Shah who has to apologise to the country for destroying India’s economy,” he said during the party’s ‘Bharat Bachao’ rally in New Delhi
Outside Parliament too, Gandhi said he would not apologise for his remark and asserted that the BJP is making his comment into an issue to deflect attention from the turmoil in the North-East over the new citizenship law (CAB). He also put out an old campaign video of PM Modi, in which he is purportedly heard accusing the Congress of making a Delhi a “rape capital”.
“The main issue is how the BJP, Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have left the North-East burning… Now to divert attention from that issue… Narendra Modi and the BJP are saying this about me,” Gandhi said after Parliament was adjourned.