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    India's Congress party vice president Rahul Gandhi gestures during an address at a farmers' rally at Ramlila ground in New Delhi. (File)

    Indian Opposition Leader in Hot Water for Sexist Remark Against Female Minister

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    NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — Indian National Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi recently challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “be a man” and not hide behind a “woman minister” in order to dodge uneasy questions about the Rafale deal. The National Commission for Women has demanded that Gandhi issue an apology to the minister in question.

    Clashing with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Rafale deal has put opposition leader Rahul Gandhi in a tight spot with the apex statutory body for women's rights, who issued a notice to him on Thursday over an allegedly sexist remark he made in a recent tweet. The body has asked Gandhi, president of the Congress Party, to come up with an explanation for his remarks and issue an apology. 

    READ MORE: India's Distressed Farmers Flock to Capital Demanding Better Prices for Produce

    "We have asked for an explanation from Rahul Gandhi for why he said and what he said on Wednesday in two his tweets. The statement was pathetic, sexist and misogynistic. That is why we have sent him a notice," NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma said.  

    Sharma lamented the Congress chief's sexist remarks even though the party has had great women leaders, including the likes of Indira Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi.

    "In the Congress party where women are the strongest including great leaders like Indira Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, we don't expect such sexist remarks from him," the women's commission chief observed.

    "Rahul has to apologise for his remarks against our defence minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman," demanded Sharma.

    The opposition leader found himself embroiled in controversy after he slammed the PM over the multi-billion dollar Rafale defence deal, seemingly making a sexist comment in the process. The opposition has sought to implicate the Modi government in corruption and nepotism in the deal.

    The row began when Rahul Gandhi ridiculed the prime minister, accusing him of not coming to parliament to respond to opposition on the Rafale deal and instead asked "a lady [Ms. Sitharaman]" to save him even though he claimed to have a "56-inch broad chest."

    He was addressing a public rally at Jaipur in the state of Rajasthan. The "broad chest" jibe pertained to a pre-election comment made by the PM in reference to himself.

    Countering the barb, PM Modi denounced Rahul Gandhi's comment during a rally in Agra saying that what Rahul had said was not against him but women at large. 

    "Our minister [Ms. Sitharaman] had exposed the opposition in Parliament. Rahul Gandhi's comments are not her insult but an insult to women power," the PM said.

    READ MORE: Indian PM Likely to Face Privilege Motion for Not Revealing Rafale Deal Cost

    In a continuing tit-for-tat tirade, Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "With all due respect Modi Ji, in our culture respect for women begins at home. Stop shaking. Be a man and answer my question: Did the Air Force and Defence Ministry object when you bypassed the original Rafale deal? Yes? Or No? #RafaleScam"

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    sexist, accusations, political, Rahul Gandhi, Nirmala Sitharaman, Narendra Modi, India
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