Prettier star campaigners than Priyanka Gandhi: BJP's Vinay Katiyar's sexist comment causes trouble

On a day when Janata Dal (United) leader Sharad Yadav compared the importance of a vote to the modesty of a woman, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Vinay Katiyar said that there are "more beautiful women than Priyanka Gandhi" who are star campaigners.

"Unse (Priyanka Gandhi) jyada bohut si sundar mahilayen hain jo star campaigner hain (There are more beautiful women than Priyanka Gandhi who are star campaigners)," Katiyar told ANI. "There are heroines and various artists who are more (beautiful than Priyanka Gandhi)." Katiyar went on to say that Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani is prettier than Priyanka. "Let her (Priyanka) come for campaigning, at least this way she will get out of her house," Katiyar added.

Katiyar also said that Sonia Gandhi was actually from "videsh (foreign country)".

Priyanka Gandhi reacted to the sexist remark and said that "this comment shows BJP's mindset about half of India's population."

"My colleagues have battled hardships to be get where they are," NDTV further quoted her as saying. "It is laughable that's all he sees in my brave, beautiful colleagues."

Congress leader Sanjay Jha also expressed his disgust at Katiyar's statement and told CNN-News18, "This is the culture of the BJP, RSS, VHP. They have contempt for women in general. I am sure that they are not going to apologise... This is the kind of language over which they believe their vote bank gets excited."

This remark is just the latest in a series of remarks made by politicians which reveals their sexist attitude. On the same day, Yadav, in a bizarre comparison, said that a daughter's honour is not more than the honour of a ballot. "Beti ki izzat se vote ki izzat badi hai. He added that if the modesty of a "daughter" was lost, the respect of a village would be lost but if a vote was sold, it affected the entire nation.

Sexism, though, is something that infests all political parties.

In July last year, former BJP vice-president in Uttar Pradesh Dayashankar Singh had said that Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati is worse than a prostitute. Satyadev Katare, Congress leader in Madhya Pradesh, had said, "Jab tak mahila tirchi najar se nahi dekhegi, tab tak purush use nahi chedega (No man will harass a woman till she looks at him in a suggestive manner)."

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had also earlier said that "rapes happen because men and women interact freely".

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jan 25, 2017 14:01:36 IST