In veiled attack on PM’s personal life, Rahul Gandhi reminds Narendra Modi to first respect women at home

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The war of words over ‘woman’ defence minister turned personal on Wednesday as Congress President Rahul Gandhi launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In his latest diatribe, Gandhi told Modi that ‘respect for women’ in the Indian culture began at home. The Congress president also told the prime minister to ‘stop shaking’ and answer his questions on the controversial Rafale deal.

Rahul Gandhi

He tweeted, “With all due respect Modi Ji, in our culture respect for women begins at home. Stop shaking. Be a man and answer my question: Did the Air Force and Defence Ministry object when you bypassed the original Rafale deal? Yes? Or No?” Gandhi concluded his tweet with hashtag #RafaleScam.

The latest attack by Gandhi on Modi has come in the wake of a full-blown war of words between the two over the former’s allegations that the prime minister was hiding behind a ‘woman’ defence minister to avoid embarrassment on the Rafale deal.

Attacking Modi at a rally in Jaipur, Gandhi had said, “56-inch Prime Minister did not come to the people’s court or the parliament.  56-inch fame prime minister asked a woman (defence minister) to protect him. parantoo vo mahila dhai ghante mein PM ki raksha nahin kar pai. Uske bhashan ki dhajiyan uda di Congress ne. (But that woman could not protect the prime minister despite her speech lasting for more than two hours. We tore the speech by the defence minister to bits).”

In response, Modi had said in Agra, “When our defence minister, a woman, thrashed the opposition with facts inside the parliament, they got rattled and are now out to insult a woman. It’s not just an insult to a woman minister, but all women of this country.”

Gandhi’s comments also drew sharp reactions from the National Commission for Women, which tweeted, stating that it will send a notice to Gandhi. NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma wrote, “What is @rahulgandhi trying to imply with his misogynistic statement- “… ek mahila say kaha meri raksha kiijiye.”? Does he think women are weak? The irony- calling an accomplished defence minister of the largest democracy a weak person.”

Meanwhile External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj too joined the debate and called Gandhi’s comments a ‘new low in politics.’ She and wrote, “Rahul Gandhi’s comments on Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman’s reply to a debate on a subject relating to Ministry of Defence is a new low in the history of Indian politics.”

Gandhi has been spearheading a sustained campaign on the Rafale deal, embarrassing Modi for his alleged complicity in helping his businessman friend Anil Ambani get the lucrative Rafale deal.

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