Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan observed a ‘silent protest’ on Monday against the former Chief Minister Kamal Nath’s alleged derogatory remark against a woman minister in Madhya Pradesh. The Chief Minister Sunday had declared that he would observe a two-hour “Maun Vrat” as “penance for Kamal Nath’s act”.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan observed the ‘silent protest’ along with state ministers Narottam Mishra, Bhupendra Singh, Vishwas Sarang and some women members of the BJP. The Chief Minister started his silent protest at Minto Hall at 10 am on Monday.
Meanwhile, BJP’s Rajya Sabha member Jyotiraditya Scindia and Lok Sabha member Shankar Lalwani, held a silent protest at Indore.
On Sunday, while addressing a campaign meeting in Dabra, where the BJP fielded Imarti Devi, Nath said the Congress candidate was a “simple person”, unlike his BJP rival, and allegedly called her an “item”. “Why should I take the name (of the opposing candidate)? You all know that person better than me. What an item,” Nath said amid cheers from the crowd that kept shouting “Imarti Devi”.
22 Congress MLAs, including Imarti Devi, had quit the Congress earlier this year and crossed over to the BJP, leading to the collapse of the Kamal Nath government. That necessitated bypolls in the constituencies that fell vacant next month.
Nath’s comments against Devi created a furore among the BJP leaders who accused him of having a “feudal mindset”.
The chief minister has led the attack, saying that the comment shows the “crooked and despicable mentality of the Congress”.
‘Insult to daughters and sisters’
“It is an insult to not only Imarti Devi but also to Madhya Pradesh’s daughters and sisters. Kamal Nath is using objectionable words for a daughter who served Congress for so long. It is a country where Mahabharat took place when Draupadi was disrespected. People won’t tolerate it. Shame on him,” news agency ANI quoted Chouhan as saying.
“I am distressed that the former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh used derogatory words for a present minister, who served the Congress for years. She rose from labourer to ministerial position,” he added.
Imarti Devi also hit out at Kamal Nath for the comment. She made it a caste issue as much as an insult to women. “What is my fault if I was born in a poor family? I want to appeal to Sonia Gandhi, who is also a mother, to not keep such people in her party. When such words will be used for women then how can any woman move forward?” she told news agency ANI.
Meanwhile, BSP chief Mayawati also objected to the remark and asked the Congress for a public apology. “The extremely anti-women remarks made by senior Congress leader and former CM about Dalit women contesting the by-election in Dabra Reserve Assembly seat of Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh are shameful and extremely condemnable. Taking cognizance of this the Congress high command should publicly apologize,” the BSP chief said.
Whereas a BJP delegation met Election Commission officials in Bhopal and complained against Nath for “insulting women and Dalits”.