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.
"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.
— India Today (@IndiaToday) January 10, 2019
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."
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.
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"