NEW DELHI: Amid allegations of sexual harassment, Congress on Wednesday sought MJ Akbar's resignation as the Union Minister and demanded an enquiry into the accusations. "Union Minister MJ Akbar should either give a satisfactory answer to the allegations or he should resign. We demand an inquiry into the matter," Congress leader Jaipal Reddy said.
Congress has been seeking answers from the Union Minister over the charges asserting that silence is not an option. "It is an extremely serious matter and the minister concerned needs to speak up. Silence cannot be a way out. This matter should be investigated. We would like to hear from both the minister in question and the Prime Minister on this issue," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari had said on Tuesday.
However, the Centre and the Bharatiya Janata Party have chosen to stay mum over the issue.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj evaded questions on whether the government will take any action against the Union minister. In a video, journalists can be seen asking: "There are serious allegations...these are sexual harassment allegations. You are a woman minister in charge. Will there be a probe on the allegations?." However, she can be seen walking away without answering the questions.
The BJP also ducked the questions on the allegations. BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra declined to respond and said that he was holding the press briefing only to speak on the Congress role in allegedly fomenting violence against migrants in Gujarat.
BJP MP Udit Raj even went to the extent of belittling the allegations levelled by women in the movement claiming that women accuse men just for the sake of money. "Habitually women take Rs 2-4 lakh, level allegations on men and then pick another man," the MP said criticising the movement. He also raised aspersions on the intent of women levelling allegations and said that they are misusing the movement. "I accept it is in man's nature. But are women perfect? Can it not be misused? A man’s life gets destroyed because of this," Udit Raj said.
However, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi backed the #MeToo movement saying that all charges should be taken seriously as women are often scared to speak out. "Men who are in positions of power often do this. And it applies to the media as well as to politics or senior personnel in companies. Women are scared to speak out because they think people would make fun of them and doubt their character but now when they are speaking out we should take action against each and every allegation," Maneka said.