Thiruvananthapuram: Maharashtra BJP president Chandrakant Patil’s “go home and cook” remark against NCP MP Supriya Sule drew the ire of women policymakers on Thursday as CPI(M) polit bureau member Brinda Karat condemned it by saying sexism is becoming rampant in Indian politics and urged women lawmakers cutting across political lines to be united against the trend, while DMK MP Kanimozhi assured to bring a Bill against shaming women in public platforms.
Patil stirred up a controversy the other day asking Sule to “go home and cook” instead of being in politics. He passed the remark while speaking in a protest-meeting by his party in Maharashtra seeking reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in elections. Referring to the remark, Karat, also a former Rajya Sabha MP, wanted women lawmakers to ensure in Parliament and Assemblies that a code of conduct against sexist comments be introduced.
Endorsing the stand, Kanimozhi said it was not just the issue of Sule but of several women, including politicians, journalists, writers and speakers, who are subject to similar insults and harassment in public especially on social media platforms which have become a “faceless space” where anybody can say anything about women. Karat and Kanimozhi were speaking in the National Women Legislators’ Conference-2022, hosted by the Kerala Assembly here, as part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav marking the 75th anniversary of the country’s independence.
The two-day event, considered to be first of this kind meeting of women law and policymakers, was inaugurated by President Ram Nath Kovind this morning. Karat referred to the recent statement of Sule seeking details from Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister on implementing the Supreme Court-ordered OBC reservation in his State. But, how could a “reputed leader” of a political party of that State (Maharashtra) insult the Lok Sabha MP over this, saying that she doesn’t know politics and let her go home and cook.
“Why insult in an entirely sexist male supremacist way?” she asked.
The leader said she knows that there are women politicians who are heading political parties facing many such insults,If a male leader of a party thinks about a woman leader in a way which is degrading, not just that particular woman but all the other leaders from the opposite sex are degraded, she said.
“Democracy gets degraded and political discourse is completely smashed,” she said, adding that apart from the demand for 33 per cent reservation in law-making bodies, there are areas where women lawmakers should stand united and fight together. Surely, one of the areas was the kind of sexism, which is becoming rampant in Indian politics, Karat added.
In her speech, Kanimozhi assured the conference that she would take up the issue in Parliament and bring a Bill against shaming of women. “I promise her (Karat)…I promise all of you that definitely, we will bring a Bill against shaming women…against passing derogatory comments on social media and in public platforms about women politicians, about women in public life,” she said.
Urging the people to stop insulting women, the DMK leader also said they should understand that it would only strengthen them and bullying would not make them shy away and run back to their homes and cooking. “You can’t and you should not shame women,” the leader added.
After the Supreme Court recently allowed reservation for the OBCs in local body elections in Madhya Pradesh, Sule, whose party shares power with the Shiv Sena and Congress in Maharashtra, had said she had contacted MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan during his Delhi visit, but he did not divulge what he did to get nod for the reservation. On Wednesday, Patil, during the BJP’s protest, had hit out at Sule, who is NCP chief Sharad Pawar’s daughter, saying, “Why are you (Sule) even in politics, just go home and cook. Go to Delhi or to a cemetery, but get us the OBC quota…”
Meanwhile, Gujarat Assembly Speaker Nimaben Acharya and Uttarakhand Assembly speaker Ritu Khanduri, who were also panelists in the session “Constitution and Women’s Rights” in the conference, detailed the pro-women steps taken in the respective States to empower women and ensure their participation in legislation. They also stressed the need to implement 33 per cent reservation for women in the State Assemblies and both Houses of Parliament.
Puducherry Transport Minister Chandira Priyanga, Kerala legislators K K Rema and U Prathiba and former MLA R Latha Devi also took part in the session.