With an increasing number of women in politics, the number of sexist comments has also increased. As we near the first phase of polling for Lok Sabha 2019 elections, yet another BJP leader has stoked controversy by allegedly referring to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as "skirt waali bai" (skirt-wearing woman).
Addressing a rally in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, BJP's Jayakaran Gupta said that "One Congress leader loudly asks if 'ache din' have come. He can't see the 'ache din'...Skirt waali bai has started wearing sari and visiting temples, those who hate ganga jal are now visiting the Ganga,".
Jayakaran Gupta, BJP, in Meerut: Congress ke ek neta to badi jor-jor bolte hain, acche din aaye? Unhe acche din dikhayi nahi dete. Are skirt waali bai saari pehenkar mandir mein shish lagane lagi, gangajal se parhej karne waale log gangajal ka acchman karne lage. (02.04.19) pic.twitter.com/SHfoXPWPC2 — ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) April 3, 2019
After the comment received outrage on social and legacy media, the leader backtracked and said that the comment was not intended for anyone in particular.
BJP's Jayakaran Gupta, Meerut: I've not made a comment at anyone. I had said 'skirt waali bai jinko mandir jaane se parhez tha woh saree pehenkar mandir-mandir ja rahi hain'. Many people are doing that. Now, you need to see who fits under that description. pic.twitter.com/4FVoLtUW01 — ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) April 3, 2019
This is not the first sexist comment to go viral against Priyanka Gandhi Vadra ever since her formal entry into Congress as UP East's chief. In fact, many ministers from both the BJP as well as Congress have directed sexist comments at the AICC General Secretary.
Recently, BJP leader from UP, Harish Dwivedi, made sexist comments on Gandhi's clothes. He said that Gandhi wore "jeans and top" when she was in Delhi but chose to dress in "sari and sindoor" when she visited rural areas.
BJP's National General Secretary Kailash Vijayavargiya also made headlines with his sexist comments against the Gandhi after he allegedly referred to her when he said that Congress party is fielding "chocolatey faces" due to a lack of strong political leadership. He late said that the comments were not specifically directed at Priyanka Gandhibut rather at film-stars joining politics.
Sajjan Singh Verma of the Congress made up for the lack of sexism on the home-front when he retaliated to Vijayavargiya saying that it was the BJP's "bad luck" to not have someone as "beautiful" as Gandhi. He also made a comparison with BJP's Mathura MP and actress Hema Malini, stating that she was all they had and that they made her "dance to classical music" to get votes.
Cabinet minister and former BJP state vice-president for Bihar, Vinod Narayan Jha, also called Priyanka "beautiful" but with no political achievements.
Meanwhile, other leaders from other parties have also not stopped. Recently, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader and prolific political orator Nanjil Sampath received flak after he made transphobic and sexist comments against Puducherry LG Kiran Bedi. "Is she a man or a woman?" he asked.
Sexist comments have also been made time and again against BJP's Smriti Irani and former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
As always, social media reacted sharply to the sexism. Many wondered why politicians could just not stay off the misogyny, despite the Model Code of Conduct being in effect.
Why can't Indian politicians stop being sexist?. Politicians whose party manifestos talk about women's right and how there should be equality. Be it Congress leader,Nanjil Sampath questioning Kiran Bedi's gender and calling her Nirva Modi.#WhySoSexist ? — MJ Srawanth (@MSrawanth) April 3, 2019
Or BJP leader Jayakaran Gupta targeting Priyanka Gandhi stating,the one who use to wear skirt has now put on a saree and visited temples.@BJP4India @INCIndia #WhySoSexist#Stopbeingsexist https://t.co/g2Aurp48RD — MJ Srawanth (@MSrawanth) April 3, 2019