On February 23, Rajasthan BJP Chairman Satish Poonia compared the state budget to a black wife. The next day, Congress criticized Poonia’s statement to the assembly, leading to the latter apologizing for his remarks.
Two weeks later, Congress is extremely embarrassed after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal, considered the right-hand man of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, made an equally reprehensible comment attributing a high number of rape cases in Rajasthan to the fact that “Rajasthan is a mard state”. The BJP, which a mere fortnight ago was accused of being sexist, now had a chance for revenge as party lawmakers created a massive outcry in the assembly, leading Dhariwal to make a Poonia apologizing Thursday.
On Wednesday, a day after International Women’s Day, Shanti Dhariwal, Rajasthan’s Cabinet Minister for Law and Legal Affairs, said during a response on the rise in rape cases to the Assembly: “We are number one in rape, ismein koi do raai nahin (no doubt about that), ab ye rape ke mamle mein kyun hain, kahin na kahin galti hai ye toh… (now why we are number one, it’s a mistake somewhere).
Dhariwal, a 78-year-old three-time MP, added: “Rajasthan to mardon ka pradesh raha hai yaar, ab uska kya karein (Rajasthan has been a state of men, what to do about it)”. As Dhariwal spoke these words, the deputies seated around him could be seen grinning and grinning.
#Rajasthan Legal Affairs Minister Shanti Dhariwal apologizes after making a controversial statement on the rise in rape cases in the state: ‘Rajasthan toh mardon ka pradesh raha hai yaar, ab uska kya karein (Rajasthan has been a state of men, what to do about it )”. pic.twitter.com/IUP4Wk0xWu
— Tabeenah Anjum (@TabeenahAnjum) March 10, 2022
Several activists, including the National Commission for Women (NCW), criticized Dhariwal for the comment. NCW President Rekha Sharma tweeted: “[The] The government of Rajasthan has ministers like these that is why women in the state suffer horrific sex crimes and the police just do nothing. How will the women of the state feel safe if he has ministers like these? NCW India is taking strong action against Mr. Dhariwal.”
Similarly, Rajasthan BJP leader Poonia’s statement on the budget was heavily criticized by activists and the ruling government and was challenged by Rajasthan Women’s Commission Chairperson Rehana Riyaz. Poonia had said “Lipa poti wala budget hai, aur aisa lag raha hai ki kisi Kaali dulhan ko beauty salon mei le jake usko ache se shringar kar ke pesh kar diya ho salon and presented after good makeup. I don’t see anything more in this budget ).”
“Lipa poti wala budget hai, aur aisa lag raha hai ki kisi Kaali dulhan ko beauty salon mei le jake usko ache se shringar kar ke pesh kar diya ho,” Rajasthan BJP Chairman Satish Poonia said in response to the budget of today. pic.twitter.com/I5HyicriOO
— Tabeenah Anjum (@TabeenahAnjum) February 23, 2022
In the space of two weeks, sexist remarks by the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP have raised serious questions about where lawmakers stand on gender equality. “Commenting on a woman’s color or responding to the increase in rape by simply making fun of women is not acceptable at all. Both of these statements cannot be considered a slip of the tongue, but they reflect the state of “spirit of these politicians. . These statements send the wrong message to the public and no apology can suffice unless there is accountability,” Nisha Sidhu, Secretary General of Rajasthan National Women’s Federation, told Outlook. Indians (NFIW).