Shillong, Jan. 17: Meghalaya deputy chief minister Bindo M. Lanong has come under fire from the Mahila Congress for his alleged derogatory remarks against women in the Congress.
However, Lanong, who is also the United Democratic Party (UDP) working president, has denied making any such remarks, while speaking to The Telegraph.
Yesterday, while inaugurating the UDP office of the Shillong North constituency at Jaiaw Laitdom here, Lanong allegedly passed derogatory remarks against Mahila Congress workers.
“In a matrilineal society similar to that of Meghalaya, such demeaning remarks against women made by Lanong, one of the senior leaders of the state, are very unfortunate. This is an indication of the thought process of the UDP on women folk of not only Meghalaya, but in general,” Poonam Rani Wangkhem, All- India Mahila Congress secretary, said in a statement.
Wangkhem is also in charge of the Mahila Congress in the state.
She said the Mahila Congress members in India work for the betterment of women all round the year and not when the elections are round the corner.
“The increase in the activities of Mahila Congress in Meghalaya seems to have irked the UDP to such an extent that such senior and responsible political figures are getting down to making undignified and irresponsible remarks against women,” she added.
Wangkhem said it was time that the UDP leaders stop minding what Mahila Congress members were doing and concentrate more on their so-called “intellectual” women candidates.
“I’m extremely happy with my efforts and the teamwork of Mahila Congress, Meghalaya, who are giving sleepless nights and mental unrest to UDP leadership,” she added.
However, Lanong said, “I did not make any derogatory remarks against any particular group. I only said our (UDP) women candidates are far better compared to others.”
The UDP has so far put up four women candidates for the February 23 polls.
They are Rona Khymdeit from Nongpoh constituency, Jova Marak from Rambrai Jyrngam, Bari Kharsati from North Shillong, and Banalari Khongwar from Pynursla.
Citing an example, he said Kharsati, who was conferred with the National Teacher’s Award, was competent to represent the people, as she was “qualified” to do so.
Even Lanong himself is pitted against a Congress woman candidate and sitting Laitumkhrah legislator, M. Ampareen Lyngdoh, from East Shillong constituency.
Interestingly, the East Shillong constituency has more female voters than men. Out of a total of 21,076 general electors, 11,172 are women.
Lanong also said he had stated that it would be a “shock” if the Congress, riddled with factionalism and infighting, is voted back to power by the people.
In a statement, the Meghalaya Pradesh Mahila Congress condemned and denounced the remarks made by Lanong.
“It is most unbecoming and unbefitting of an elderly person and a senior legislator to have made such derogatory remarks on women in the political field. His attitude and perception of women have clearly projected that he is a person with a prejudiced mind,” the statement said.
It also said Lanong is a person who has no regard whatsoever for women from any background, be it educational, social or political.
“In an age where men and women across the globe speak and fight for justice, here is a person who has completely reflected how unjust and how shallow he is in his mindset and attitude despite the fact that he claims to be an intellectual, thus reinforcing a partrichal mindset and attitude,” it added.
The statement added that this was an appeal to all women not to allow such divisive and destructive elements to “objectify and commodify women for their own personal gains and agenda”.