Recently, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj in her series of tweets talked about how previous congress governments had a minuscule representation of women in the top most decision-making body, or the Cabinet of the country.
What the minister tweeted was about this lack of representation of women under Nehru, Indira and Rajiv governments. Nehru’s first cabinet had only one woman – Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur as a Cabinet Minister. In his second term, he had no woman cabinet minister. In his third term, he had one woman as Cabinet Minister. Also, under Indira Gandhi’s cabinet, there was no woman minister and under Rajiv Gandhi’s period of rule, there was only one woman cabinet minister.
In contrast, there are six women cabinet ministers under Modi government, which is nothing short of being historic.
What does it tell us about the Congress party? That they do not want women at the helm of affairs when it comes to decision-making?
In fact, even if there are women in the congress party in charge of some decision-making process at some level, they have been insulted and passed remarks on.
There are many instances where congress’s top brass has taken a stand which is anti-women and against empowerment of women.
His government had infamously undermined the cause of Equality for women. Muslim women were deliberately pushed towards marginality thanks to the Shah Bano case. The ruling Congress party then led by Rajiv Gandhi, in a majority, framed a law in the parliament overturning the verdict of the honourable Supreme Court.
The current President of Congress party, had made an indecent remark against women by questioning their dressing sense. Addressing a gathering of students in Vadodara at the time of Gujarat assembly elections, Rahul Gandhi had asked whether any woman was ever seen in its ‘shakhas’ (a daily assembly of RSS), wearing shorts. Quite preposterously, he had established a link between women’s clothing and women empowerment.
It was the senior Congress leader Mr Sibal who had represented All India Muslim Personal Law Board, and opposed the petition which asked for scrapping of instant triple talaq in the Supreme Court.
Then Mr Singh, another Senior Congress leader, had made a despicable sexist remark against his own party colleague Ms Meenakshi Natarajan. He had called Meenakashi Natarajan “sau tunch maal” – a crass slang used in North India to objectify women.
Another senior Congress leader had passed a sexist remark against Smriti Irani, then an MP from BJP, calling her a dancer.
Sushil Kumar Shinde
A senior congress leader, during a debate in the Rajya Sabha, had told the then SP MP, Jaya Bachchan,
“Listen carefully sister, this is a serious matter. This is not a filmy subject.”
When journalist Soumya Viswanathan was murdered in Delhi in 2008, Sheila Dikshit, then the CM of Delhi had resorted to blaming the victim only sermonising that women should not be ‘adventurous’.
She had said –
“All by herself till 3 am in a city where people believe… you know… you should not be so adventurous.”
In 2012, Haryana Congress Committee member and Congress Hisar district spokesman Dharambir Goyat had told reporters that 90 percent rapes were consensual.
He had said –
“Ninety per cent of rape cases are (a case of) consensual sex between the girl and boy…. The girl gets into an affair with a boy and she goes with him without knowing that he is of the criminal mindset.”
“It’s not the state government which is responsible for rapes. In fact in most of the cases, it is consensual sex,”.
The instances cited above are self-explanatory, evidently showing the anti-women attitude of the top brass of Congress party. It shouldn’t come as a surprise why in the governments run by the Congress party, there was miniscule presence of women in the highest decision-making body of the country. On the contrary, not only the cabinet led by PM Modi has more women, but women are also given highly significant portfolios such as defence and external affairs. Ironically and rather unfairly, it is the Congress President which labels BJP as a regressive party with no preference for women leaders.