NEW DELHI: Opposition parties on Monday called out Prime Minister Narendra Modi after he hailed 'nari shakti' in his Independence Day speech, asking him to look inwards and on his party's attitude towards women.
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Modi urged people to pledge not to do anything that lowers the dignity of women, saying a mentality to insult them in speech and behaviour has crept in.
TMC MP Derek O' Brien reminded the prime minister of the "Didi o Didi" comment made by him on West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during an election rally in the state.
"Let's pledge to wipe out misogyny' said Prime Minister @narendramodi today. Completely agree, Sir. Should we start with you, leading by example," wrote O'Brien on Twitter, attaching a video of Modi making the reference to Banerjee in his speech.
Congress leader Pawan Khera too posted a video compilation of the prime minister's remarks on women, including comments made on the floor of the House, on Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury in the Rajya Sabha over her laughter which was condemned as being "sexist", his comment on Banerjee and the "50-crore girlfriend" remark about Congress leader Shashi Tharoor's wife, Sunanda Pushkar.
"If anyone needs the most to take a pledge to respect women, then it is this person," wrote Khera referring to the video.
नारी के सम्मान का संकल्प लेने की सबसे ज़्यादा आवश्यकता अगर किसी को है तो वह इस व्यक्ति को है। देखिए कैसे pic.twitter.com/klSno2zugg— Pawan Khera (@Pawankhera) August 15, 2022
CPI general secretary D Raja too urged the PM to examine the attitude of his own party men with regards to women. "It is not just about women. All humans should be treated with respect in society. This is not happening because the mindset is being controlled by a party which believes in the Manusmriti, patriarchy and caste system. This government has the numbers in both the Houses of Parliament, yet they have not passed the women reservation bill. His speech is mere rhetoric and there is no serious commitment whether towards women or towards the socially backward," said Raja, who also raised incidents against women and the Dalits where Modi has chosen to remain silent.
Shiv Sena leader and Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said Modi's words did not match the actions on the ground.
"If we look at Maharashtra not having any woman in cabinet with even the women and child portfolios being handed by male ministers. Even the labour force participation is rapidly decreasing and the government is not able to address them," she said.
"There is also the matter of 33 per cent reservation being championed by the BJP, and despite having a full majority, it has not been implemented. So, those are the issues that we are looking at in 25 years from now. We also have to look at how policies have impacted the women on ground," Chaturvedi said.
She also referred to the 'Sulli and Bulli deals' incident in which women were berated and auctioned on social media.