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Rahul Twists Beti Bachao Slogan in MP, Questions PM’s Silence Over #MeToo Charges Against Akbar

Gandhi was taking a dig at the prime minister over the allegations of sexual harassment against Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar and the rape charges against BJP’s Uttar Pradesh MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar.

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Updated:October 16, 2018, 11:23 PM IST
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Rahul Twists Beti Bachao Slogan in MP, Questions PM’s Silence Over #MeToo Charges Against Akbar
Congress President Rahul Gandhi addresses a public meeting in Datia, on Oct 15. (Photo: PTI)
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New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi questioned PM Narendra Modi’s silence over alleged sexual misconduct by a minister in his Cabinet and argued that the PM’s beti bachao, beti padhao slogan needed a relook.

Rahul said the slogan should be tweaked to read “Beti Padhao BJP ke netaonse, mantrionse, MLAs se beti bachao (save the daughter from BJP leaders, ministers and MLAs)”.

Addressing a rally in the Sheopur district of poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, Rahul Gandhi said, “Modiji ne bahut accha nara diya tha beti padhao beti bachao. Narendra Modi ke mantri par sawal uthaya jaata hai. Uttar Pradesh me BJP ka MLA balatkar karta. Pradhan Mantri ke muh se ek shabd nahi nikalta (Modiji had given a good slogan: Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao. Narendra Modi’s minister is questioned. A BJP MLA in Uttar Pradesh commits rape but the PM does not utter a word).”

Gandhi was taking a dig at the prime minister over the allegations of sexual harassment against Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar and the rape charges against BJP’s Uttar Pradesh MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar.

“Not only the PM but even the (BJP) chief ministers in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh did not say a word,” Gandhi said.

Akbar, the Minister of State for External Affairs in the NDA government, has been accused by over a dozen women of sexual misconduct. The Opposition parties, led by the Congress, have been actively seeking the Centre’s response over the matter and have been demanding Akbar’s resignation from the cabinet of ministers.

Akbar was first called out by journalist Priya Ramani, who had last year written about his alleged inappropriate behaviour for a magazine without taking his name. She confirmed this week that the allegation was against Akbar.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party has maintained a studied silence on the matter so far, party sources said the charges against him are serious. There is also a view within the party that there is no legal case against him, and allegations pertain to a time long before he became a minster. BJP chief Amit Shah is currently on a two-day tour of poll-bound Madhya Pradesh.

Describing the charges against him as "false and fabricated", the minister has filed a private criminal defamation complaint in a Delhi court against journalist Priya Ramani.

Akbar, who has been the editor of prominent newspapers like The Telegraph, Asian Age and The Sunday Guardian, is a member of the Rajya Sabha from the BJP.

BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, who is accused of raping an 18-year-old woman in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation hours after Allahabad High Court ordered the agency to "arrest, not detain" the BJP MLA.

Taking a strong objection to the UP government's submission that Sengar would not be arrested on mere registration of the FIR, the court said this approach is "not only appalling but shocks the conscience of the court in the backdrop of the instant case."

The incident had come to light in April after the 17-year-old girl, who had alleged to be raped by Sengar at his residence, tried to immolate herself outside UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s residence. The incident had led to nationwide anger, prompting the state government to hand over the investigation to CBI.
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