MJ Akbar, named in #MeToo, returns to India on Sunday; BJP likely to decide on minister's fate

While the BJP has maintained a silence on the issue, the opposition has been demanding the minister's resignation.

MJ Akbar, named in #MeToo, returns to India on Sunday; BJP likely to decide on minister's fate

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is expected to take a clear stand on the allegations of sexual harassment against Union Minister MJ Akbar after he is back to India on Sunday. The Minister of State (MoS) and former editor, who is on an official trip to Nigeria, has not responded to the charges so far.

While the BJP has maintained a silence on the issue, the opposition has been demanding the minister's resignation.

According to sources in the saffron party, the charges against Akbar are serious and his continuance as a minister is no longer guaranteed. A final call will be taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, they said. 

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 minister.

As the #MeToo movement gains momentum in India, multiple women in the last few days have offered their accounts of alleged sexual harassment, bringing to fore sordid tales of sexual harassment by influential men in different walks of lives.

Among others, MJ Akbar has been accused of sexual harassment by at least five women who had earlier worked with him. The accusations by women journalists against their former boss has led the Opposition to demand the exit of Akbar from his ministerial post.

Senior journalist Akbar joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of 2014 general elections and was elected to the Rajya Sabha a year later. He was made the Minister of State for External Affairs in 2016.

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