Madhya Pradesh: Sexist expressions galore in the state ahead of crucial bypolls

While sending across his Durga Puja greetings on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that women in the country must be given the respect people give to Goddess Durga.

However, in Madhya Pradesh, where the results of the November 3 bypolls to 28 seats will determine if the BJP government stays in power in the state, no sexist language seems to be a taboo, both for the Congress and the BJP.

While former Madhya Pradesh Chief Kamal Nath kicked off a storm with his 'item' jibe at a sitting BJP minister, which drew censure from Rahul Gandhi and a symbolic 'penance' by BJP leaders on Kamal Nath's behalf, the BJP too stooped to a new low after one of its sitting ministers called his rival's wife 'rakhail' or mistress.

Madhya Pradesh Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Bisahulal Singh, who is also the BJP candidate from Anuppur, was allegedly heard saying in a video, "Why is Vishwanath Singh hiding information about his first wife and mentioned his 'rakhail' in his nomination papers? He has chosen not to give information about his first wife, while he has given information about his mistress."

Bisahulal Singh had quit the Congress along with Jyotiraditya Scindia and others which brought down the Kamal Nath-led government.

Though the minister has been booked under Sections 294 and 506 of the IPC, his remarks have embarrassed the BJP, days after the party raised a huge hue and cry over Kamal Nath's sexist remark with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan sitting on a 'maun vrat' and Scindia delivering an animated speech against Kamal Nath for his comment.

While campaigning in Dabra segment in Gwalior district, Kamal Nath had allegedly called BJP's Imarti Devi an 'item', drawing angry reactions from the saffron party even as the Congress accused the BJP of trying to misinterpret certain words.

"I did use the word 'item', but it is not an insulting word," Kamal Nath had said, trying to defend himself. However, Rahul Gandhi had asserted his unhappiness over the remark.

The level of verbal toxicity in MP bypoll campaign went beyond sexism when BJP General Secretary and a tall leader from the state, Kailash Vijayvargiya, referred to Kamal Nath and Digvijay Singh as "Chunnu Munnu".

Sajjan Singh Verma, a former Congress minister, hit back with a sexist jibe in Indore when he said, "Have you forgotten the days when you used to wear bangles on your hands, drape a saree, and wear nose ring?"

Not long ago, Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Dinesh Gurjar had used the phrase "coming from a hungry and ill-clad family" for Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

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Free Press Journal