Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat's sexist remarks about women joining politics and his public appeal to women asking them to desist from taking up the "33 percent reservation" bait, Sunday invited criticism from the women's rights lobby in the state.
Sabina Martins, former member of the Goa State Commission for Women and convenor of the renowned civic NGO Goa Bachao Abhiyaan, said Kamat's comments at a public function Saturday smacked of sexism and callousness.
"The chief minister's comment only shows the mindset of the political class in Goa, where in an assembly of 40 legislators, there is only one woman legislator," Martins, a spokesperson of woman's group Bailancho Saad, told a news agency.
"Kamat's own party is trying so hard to push the women's quota bill and here he is trying to dissuade women from joining politics. In a way, the chief minister is working against the principles of his own party," Martins said.
Kamat, at a public function Saturday, had said: "If women start pursuing politics, it will have a negative impact on society."
Kamat had also made snide remarks at the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's landmark women's quota bill that seeks to reserve 33 percent of seats in the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies for women.
"Don't fall for 33 percent reservation (in politics). Politics makes you go crazy. Women play an important role in transforming the society. We should look after our next generation," Kamat had said, commenting on the legislation, which, according to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, was the dream of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
Kamat, who has recently faced flak from the Congress high command for calling Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi his best friend, has also attracted the ire of women environment activists in the state.
The five women activists who had gone to meet Kamat on a scheduled grievance day - when members of the public have open access to the chief minister - to discuss unplanned real estate development in the state were dismissed by Kamat, who said he "does not need their votes".
First Published: Sunday, May 23, 2010, 15:20