New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday termed as "victory of truth" the resignation of Union minister MJ Akbar following charges of sexual harassment against him, and asked whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dare to speak up on the Me Too movement now.
Congress leader Ragini Naik accused the Modi government of being "misogynist" which "deceived" women voters who placed their faith, reposed their trust in the BJP in 2014. "Times is up Modiji. The silence of Modi on Me Too movement is deafening," she told reporters.
"Now that MJ Akbar, who has been accused by no less than 36 women of misconduct and harassment, has finally resigned, will prime minister Narendra Modi dare to speak up," Naik asked.
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said she saluted the women who stood against Akbar bravely in spite of the "brazen" stance taken by the government. "This resignation is a vindication of the power of truth. More strength to India's women," she said.
Akbar stepped down as junior external affairs minister on Wednesday, the first high-profile resignation due to the Me Too movement that has brought together women from against a spectrum of sexual misconduct they have faced.
The 67-year-old journalist-politician's resignation as minister of state for external affairs comes a day ahead of the hearing of his criminal defamation case against journalist Priya Ramani, one of the women who accused him of sexual misconduct, at Delhi's Patiala House court complex.
Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev termed Akbar's stepping down as a "moral victory" for everyone and sought support for the Me Too movement cutting across party lines.
"MJ Akbar's resignation is a moral victory for everyone. The defamation case can't change that. The Me Too movement needs support across party lines," she tweeted.
"I admire the courage of Priya Ramani and all the victims who spoke out against sexual harassment and abuse. MJ Akbar's resignation is a moral victory for everyone. The defamation case can't change that. The Me Too movement needs support across party lines."
Naik said the Congress believes that Akbar's resignation was a result of the persistent pressure put by women who shared their horrific and uncomfortable stories. It was also a vindication of the Congress party's unequivocal stand on the Me Too movement, she added.
"We also think that it is a time for a fair trial so that justice prevails. This country has a rule of law and the Congress party believes that any allegation levelled against anybody must pass this test of justice. We hope and wish that all the women fighting this tough battle would be heard and finally justice would be imparted," she said. Chaturvedi, too, hit out at Prime Minister Modi for what she said was his "silence" on the matter.
"I salute these women who stood their ground despite the brazen stance of the government, the silence of the PM who speaks about women empowerment, the arrogant misuse of power by deploying a battery of lawyers against one woman and allowing the accused to continue in his role," Chaturvedi said in a tweet.
Alleging that using threat and intimidation as a tool to silence voices has become the norm of the Modi government, she said but this brazenness is returning to haunt them.
"The women of the country are saying the time for this is up and threat to silence voices can no longer be the norm or acceptable," she said.
Updated Date: Oct 18, 2018 17:04:12 IST