Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressing a rally in Jharkhand. (Source: Twitter/@INCIndia)
BJP's women Parliamentarians, led by Union Minister Smriti Irani, Friday met the Election Commission officials in New Delhi and sought "severest possible action" against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his "rape in India" remark he made at an election rally in Jharkhand.
The women BJP MP's accused Gandhi of "using" rape incidents as a "political weapon" to settle scores with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The party has petitioned the Election Commission demanding action against the Congress leader.
"It is with a sense of outrage that women MPs of BJP have approached the Election Commission of India to take strongest action possible against Rahul Gandhi. Mr Gandhi has used rape as a political weapon to settle scores with Narendra Modi. "We have beseeched the Election Commission that it is for the first time that a political leader has used rape for political mockery. The entire nation looks upon this constitutional authority (EC) to ensure that dignity of women is upheld and those politicians who seek to use rape as a political weapon are reprimanded with the severest punishment possible," Irani told reporters after the meeting.
The Union Minister said she leaves it to the Election Commission to decide the punishment it will give to Gandhi. "Who has given Rahul Gandhi the right to say that all women are being raped in the country? Who has given Rahul Gandhi the right to say that every man is a rapist? Who has given Rahul Gandhi the right to tarnish the image of the country for his own politics?" she asked.
Irani said the EC officials have assured the delegation that they will do justice after following legal procedures. She said Gandhi has made such a condemnable statement "deliberately" for his political benefit.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also described Gandhi’s remark as ‘horrendous’, saying it was a matter of shame that the senior Congress leader was speaking by forgetting about the dignity of women.
While addressing a poll rally in Jharkhand on Thursday, Gandhi said, “Narendra Modi had said ‘Make in India’ but nowadays wherever you look, it is ‘Rape in India’. In Uttar Pradesh Narendra Modi’s MLA raped a woman, then she met with an accident but Narendra Modi did not utter a word.” The former Congress president was referring to the Unnao rape case, where expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar is an accused.
Earlier in the day, Gandhi said he would never apologise and instead demanded that PM Modi should do so over an old video in which he claimed that Delhi had turned into a "rape capital" under the UPA dispensation.
Modi should apologise.
1. For burning the North East.
2. For destroying India’s economy.
3. For this speech, a clip of which I'm attaching. pic.twitter.com/KgPU8dpmrE
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) December 13, 2019
"As far as their (BJP's) demand for apologising, I am never going to apologise to them," he told reporters outside Parliament.
-With inputs from PTI