New Delhi, January 25th: BJP MP Vinay Katiyar stuck his foot in highly controversial waters when he claimed that there were women campaigners much more beautiful than Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s daughter, Priyanka Gandhi in Uttar Pradesh. Also Read - Rahul Gandhi Holds Virtual Meet With Bengal Leaders to Discuss Left-Congress Alliance For 2021 Polls
Referring to the upcoming Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections Katiyar spoke to the media and said, “What star campaigner? No, I don’t think that’s a factor. There are so many other more beautiful female campaigners. There are heroines. So many others more beautiful.”Brushing off the comments as an indication of the sexist mindset prevalent within the BJP Also Read - Delhi Chalo: Rahul Gandhi Backs Protesting Farmers, Says Modi Govt Will Have To Take Back 'The Black Law'
Brushing off the comments as an indication of the sexist mindset prevalent within the BJP, Priyanka retaliated by saying, “Ha ha ha, he’s right…they do (are)!!…And if that’s all he sees in my colleagues who are such strong, brave and beautiful women that have battled through all sorts of hardships to get where they are, then he makes me laugh even more.” Also Read - Congress Leader Ahmed Patel Laid to Rest in Gujarat’s Bharuch, Rahul Gandhi Attends Funeral
However, this is not the first time that Priyanka Gandhi has been objectified in such a manner. In a highly controversial statement, well-known TV presenter Rajdeep Sardesai once compared Priyanka Gandhi’s style of politics as that of an “item girl”. Addressing the 2014 Tata Literature Live Festival Sardesai said, “Priyanka Gandhi does politics like an item girl.”
The statement was made in response to a question posed by author Shobhaa De. Apart from calling Priyanka Gandhi an item girl for her style of working, he also slammed Rahul Gandhi for agreeing to give an interview to Arnab Goswami instead of him.
In a rather unbelievable statement, Rajdeep Sardesai said, “The Gandhis need to realise that people want a leader who engages 24×7. Modi has got that right from the beginning. In all my meetings with him, whenever he said something which I felt was a good headline point, he would just ruin it by saying it was all off the record. Rahul Gandhi is great to go out for a drink with to Bombay Gymkhana, but he is not Prime Ministerial material. Sonia Gandhi is being this Italian mother with her son. She’s lost touch with reality.”
While an apology was later tendered by Rajdeep Sardesai to Gandhi, the comments both past and the ones made in the present represent a mindset that considers it alright to ideologically oppose women by objectifying and targeting them in a demeaning way. As long as this mindset continues in the country, moving on to a gender neutral society from a patriarchal one remains an uphill task.