Congress President Rahul Gandhi has hit out at his critics for his ‘woman’ comments targeting Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman over the Rafale deal controversy. Speaking to reporters in Dubai during his two-visit to the UAE, Gandhi denied that his comments amounted to insulting women.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has helped Anil Ambani steal Rs. 30,000 crore and the House of the people Lok Sabha is where he should have defended himself but he chose to send another person and that person happened to be a woman. I would have made a very similar comment if it had been a man,” news agency PTI the Congress President.
He asked the BJP to not ‘impose your sexism on me.’ “I am very clear that the prime minister should have delivered that defence but he did not have the guts,” he added.
Gandhi had accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of fleeing the parliament and hiding behind a woman when the parliament debated the Rafale issue. Sitharaman was asked to reply his charges of corruption in the defence deal.
The National Commission for Women has sent him a notice for allegedly insulting women in general by accusing Modi of hiding behind a woman defence minister.
Addressing a rally in Jaipur last week, Gandhi had said that the watchman with a 56-inch chest had ‘run away and told a woman, Sitharamanji, defend me. I won’t be able to defend myself, defend me.’
He 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).”
Modi had accused Gandhi of insulting women with his comments targeting Sitharaman. However, Gandhi had shot back asking the prime minister to ‘stop shaking’ and answer his questions on the controversial Rafale deal. He had said, ” “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.”
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.