The Centre’s Narendra Modi government in India has found itself amidst considerable bother after several woman journalists came forward to allege sexual harassment against MJ Akbar, a minister in the central government. Though Akbar has decided to take an extraordinary step by hiring a legal firm with 97 lawyers to file a criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani, he’s failed to find much support from the media fraternity that he was once a part of.
Meanwhile, it seems Akbar is not receiving any support from his party colleagues. A video of BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra running away from media persons when asked to comment on the sexual harassment allegations against MJ Akbar has gone viral on social media. Ironically, Patra is seen talking about women’s empowerment in the video congratulating Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making significant achievement on that front.
It was here when an intrepid reporter interrupted Patra to highlight his party’s hypocrisy and asked him to comment on the allegations of sexual misconduct against Akbar. A visibly embarrassed Patra is seen quickly making his way to his car.
The reporter kep chasing him by repeating his question, ‘Mr Sambit, please say something. When you are talking about the women’s empowerment, you must also address Akbar issue. Why are you running away from our questions?”
Patra quickly found a refuge in his car and shut the door to escape the journalist’s questions on Akbar.
This is not the first time a BJP leader has found amidst embarrassment over sexual harassment allegations against Akbar. Not too long ago, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Akbar’s boss, was seen refusing to answer a journalist’s questions on Akbar.
Experts say that it will be suicidal for the Modi government to sack Akbar even though the charges against him are grave in nature. One leader said that Akbar’s sacking will be a PR disaster in the election year. “Can you imagine what the headline will be if we sack Akbar sahab? ‘Modi’s minister sacked over rape allegations?’ Are we prepared to deal with such outcome both in India and internationally in the election year?” said the leader requesting anonymity.