A senior leader of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), who said that women who apply lipstick and have "bobcut hair" will ask for their rights under the women's reservation bill, said the comment was to make rural women understand his language. Abdul Bari Siddiqui courted controversy with his statement that was made during addressing party workers in Muzaffarpur on Saturday.
"In that rally, hundreds of rural women were there... I used that language to explain to the rural woman in their language. My intention was not to hurt anyone... If someone is hurt, I express regret... It was a gathering of extremely backward classes and I was teaching them... RJD had been in support of Women's Reservation since the beginning," Siddiqui told ANI.
Arguing his stance for inclusion of women from backward communities under the bill, the senior RJD leader's comment was slammed for its sexist undertone. "Those applying lipstick and bobcut hairstyles will step forward seeking their rights under the women's reservation bill. However, the government should prioritise reservations for women from marginalised communities instead," he said.
Siddiqui's comment was quickly criticised by the Bharatiya Janata Party, with some saying it reflected the INDIA bloc's "mentality".
Meanwhile, BJP MP Sunita Duggal said that the remark showed Siddiqui's "narrow mentality". "This shows their narrow mindset... Women are making a mark in every area... Giving such statements represents their rude mentality...They want women to do only household work and not contribute to the outside world," she said.