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'Tunch maal' to 'dented painted women' - When top politicians made crass, sexist remarks

Here are some of the highly controversial statements made by senior politicians against women which not only evoked a severe backlash but also triggered a national debate on the conduct of public figures.


'Tunch maal' to 'dented painted women' - When top politicians made crass, sexist remarks

New Delhi: On a day when the BJP suspended its senior leader from UP - Dayashankar Singh -  for  his derogatory remark against BSP chief Mayawati, the incident also threw light on past incidents of top politicians making sexist and highly inappropriate comments against women.

Here are some of the highly controversial statements made by senior politicians which not only evoked a severe backlash but also triggered a national debate on the conduct of public figures.

 

 

'Thumkewaali'

In December, 2012, former Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam had called Smriti Irani a 'thumkewaali'.

"It's only four days of your entry into politics and you have become a political analyst. Aap toh TV pe thumke lagati thi, aaj chunavi vishleshak ban gayi," Nirupam had said in an interview.

'South women have sexy bodies'

Sharad Yadav, then JD(U) president in 2015, had made a sexist comment on south Indian women in Rajya Sabha, leaving some parliamentarians dumbstruck. 

Commenting on the complexion of south Indian women, Yadav had said, "The women of the south are dark but they are as beautiful as their bodies ... We don't see it here. They know dance." Yadav's comment made several male MPs burst into laughter during a debate in Parliament.

'100% tunch maal'

Congress' outspoken leader Digvijaya Singh too made a crass, sexist remark against her party colleague Meenakshi Natrajan. The veteran Congress leader had called Natrajan, then party MP from Mandsaur, a "100% tunch maal" (totally unblemished) - a northern colloquial that loosely translates into "a desirable object". 

"Our party MP, Meenakshi Natrajan, is a Gandhian, simple and an honest leader. She keeps going from place to place in her constituency. I am a seasoned smith of politics. Meenakshi sau tunch maal hai," Singh told party workers in Mandsaur. 

'Infertile woman'

In 2011, veteran CPM leader from Hooghly and former MP Anil Basu had attacked Mamata Banerjee and compared her with the sex workers of Sonagachi. His remarks drew flak and led to a major controversy over use of words by politicians.

Left leader Subhas Chakraborty also targeted Mamata and ridiculed her Maa-Mati-Manush slogan using inappropriate remarks. He said: "She is an infertile woman; what does she know about Maa?" 

'Men make mistakes'

Referring to the sentencing of three men who were found guilty of gang-raping two women in the abandoned Shakti Mills in Mumbai in 2014, Samjawadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav had said that 'boys are boys' and that 'men make mistakes'. 

"When their friendship ends, the girl complains she has been raped," the SP supremo had said later.

'Dented painted women'

President Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee courted a major controversy by describing women participating in candle light protests in Delhi against gang rape of a medical student as 'highly dented and painted', triggering angry backlash. 

Abhijit said, "Walking in candlelight processions, going to discotheques, we have also led student life, we have been students. I well know what the character of a student should be."

While reacting to the demonstrations against politicians in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had said, "Some women wearing lipstick and powder have taken to streets in Mumbai and are abusing politicians spreading dissatisfaction against democracy. This is what terrorists are doing in Jammu and Kashmir."

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