The BJP criticized the Congress on Thursday for its leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda driving a tractor that his party’s female legislators were pulling with ropes to protest rising fuel prices, and questioned if women in political organizations are regarded as “bonded laborers.”
Smriti Irani, a Union minister, and BJP leader called it “completely surprising” to see the former Haryana chief minister seated peacefully on a tractor while female members of his party literally pulled it.
“I understand he wants to protest. I understand he wants to make a political statement but should that be done at the cost of women? This is irrespective of our politics. Can women in political organizations, esp the scene we saw in this protest by the Congress, be treated as bonded laborers. It is shocking no male member of the Congress even intervened to stop that,” Ms. Irani said.
Ms. Irani, who is also the women and child development minister, took a dig at Congress president Sonia Gandhi, saying her absence also speaks volumes about how women in her party are limited to roles that even men fail to do.
Ms. Irani said it was ironic that on the one hand, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar expressed his displeasure with the movement on the floor of the state assembly.
More About Tractor Pulling Incident:
On International Women’s Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked for honoring female talent and industry, while Mr. Hooda decreased their stature and forced them to pull a tractor atop which he stood.
He did this for a “family business” called the Congress, she said, adding that the incident occurred on March 8, International Women’s Day.
“Shouldn’t they (Congress) have been conscientious enough to act on their own?” Ms. Irani laughed when asked if she had any requests.
Mr. Khattar had become emotional while condemning the rally, claiming that the visuals had kept him up all night.
“This treatment to women MLAs was worse than bonded labor,” he said in the state assembly.
Mr. Hooda justified this, arguing that it was women who were bearing the brunt of rising cooking gas and other necessities costs.
Mr. Khattar, on the other hand, said that if he had to protest, he should’ve just moved the tractor.
About this, Mr. Hooda said, “The government has turned a blind eye to the pain of women who are sitting with farmers protesting on borders against farm laws. Power connections were cut at the protest site, you cannot see their pain.”