Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhury paved the way for another controversy by referring to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as an 'anti-woman' man.
Chowdhury was addressing a press conference, explaining the Congress party's position on embattled Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien, when she was asked a question on Modi.
"This is irrelevant to the main topic. Modi is an anti-woman man. He doesn't respect his own wife, let alone someone else's wife. Modi doesn't respect women, he doesn't even understand what respect means", she said in English before obligingly repeating the quote in Hindi."The EU will quickly realise what his stand is on women", she added, referring to an EU decision to end its 'embargo' on the Gujarat Chief Minister.
In relation to the topic of Kurien, who has been coming under increasing political pressure, Chowdhury said that the Congress was not shielding anyone, adding that Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha had been cleared by higher judicial authorities and they were not in a position to question that.
"There was an investigation and Kurien was given a clean chit: public sentiment cannot change what the court has said", she said.
There have been massive protests across Kerala demanding Kurien step down, and the Suryanelli rape victim’s mother wrote to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi wondering how PJ Kurien could continue as Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha when the bill on sexual violence against women was about to be considered by the Upper House.
The victim from Suryanelli in Idukki district was abducted in January, 1996 and transported from place to place across Kerala and sexually exploited by different persons.
Kurien’s name figured again in connection with the case after the victim wrote to her advocate on 29 January to explore the possibility of filing a review petition, seeking a fresh probe against him.
Kurien has rejected the charge and the demand for his resignation, saying it was a matter which had already been cleared by the Supreme Court.
With inputs from agencies