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Home / India / BJP, Congress condemn Karnataka MLA's 'rape' comments

BJP, Congress condemn Karnataka MLA's 'rape' comments

Surjewala slams 'unacceptable behaviour', ruling-party claims Opposition has a history of making derogatory remarks against women
Karnataka Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar
Karnataka Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar
File picture

Our Bureau, PTI   |   New Delhi   |   Published 17.12.21, 04:01 PM

The BJP on Friday slammed the Congress for its Karnataka MLA's comments on rape on the floor of the state assembly and questioned its leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's silence over the issue, even as Congress allied themselves from the MLA and slammed his 'unacceptable behaviour'.

On Wednesday, Congress leader KR Ramesh Kumar made a sexist comment in the Karnataka Assembly as he said, "when rape is inevitable, lie down and enjoy it." The distasteful comment by Kumar came when MLAs demanded time from Speaker Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri to further discuss farmers' issues.

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Taking to Twitter, Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala stated, “Speaker as custodian and senior legislators are expected to be role models & should desist from such unacceptable behaviour.” He added, “Congress Party disapproves the exchange of highly objectionable and insensitive banter between Karnataka Assembly Speaker and Sr. Congress MLA in the House.”

However, Congress' effort to distance themselves from the accused proved to be futile as BJP came all guns blazing.

Party spokesperson Aparajita Sarangi questioned the silence of Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi over the matter, noting that the Gandhi siblings had rushed to Hathras, where a Dalit girl was allegedly raped and murdered.

She said Congress leaders have a history of making humiliating and shameful comments about women and referred to remarks made by the likes of former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

However, the BJP was left red-faced when Sarangi also criticised Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, who is from the ruling party, for not objecting to Congress MLA's rape remarks.

"What is sad that the Speaker said nothing after such objectionable comments were made and even laughed," she said.

Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar and another BJP spokesperson Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, however, defended the Speaker. Rathore said Kageri made no statement, and things should not be implied.

Sarangi, who was also at the dais with them for a party press conference, later clarified that she meant to refer to Kumar as he is also a former speaker.

"Even as the Speaker he had made such remarks by equating himself with a rape victim for being dragged to court over various issues," she noted.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Smriti Irani on Friday raked up the issue in Lok Sabha. Without taking the party’s name she said, “If you truly believe in the cause of women, first stand here and denounce that legislator who said that if you are raped, as a woman in the country you should enjoy it. Those men who stand in this Well today, go back to your political organisation and first bring to justice such a man, then we will see who speaks for women and children in this country.”

BJP National General Secretary CT Ravi on Twitter asked, “Do Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi agree with this shameless comment? Will they demand his resignation?”

Congress' Khanapur MLA Anjali Nimbalkar also denounced the remarks made by her party’s MLA.

“The House shall apologise to entire womanhood, every mother, sister and daughter of this nation for such an obnoxious and shameless behaviour.” Another Congress MLA Sowmya Reddy said, “This is just NOT ok. There needs to be an apology. (sic),” she tweeted.

Kumar, who has been in the middle of the controversy, apologised for his remarks on Friday.

As the proceedings of the Assembly began, Kumar stood up and said he made a statement (in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday), which people found outrageous.

"However, my intention was never to demean the prestige of this House or behave in an inferior way. I will not defend myself. I tender my sincere apology for my utterance during the proceedings of the House if it has hurt people from any part of the country," Kumar said.

Speaking in the Assembly, he quoted Confucius’ famous saying: “To own a mistake, ends up in a single mistake. To deny a mistake amounts to multiple mistakes. People have already given their verdict and accordingly I am begging pardon.”

His apology was accepted by the Speaker, who “appealed to the members, especially women MLAs, not to drag the matter further and make it a big issue.”

In an earlier tweet, Kumar had said, “It was not my intention to trivialise or joke about ‘rape!’ My sincerest apologies if I have offended you. But the situation in the House has deteriorated so much that I used that analogy! Will choose my words carefully in the future.”

Facing a huge backlash, Mr Ramesh Kumar put out a statement on Twitter, controversially terming his comment an "off-the-cuff" one.



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