Smriti Irani alleges Tehseen Poonawalla made sexist remark against her in 2016

Speaking exclusively to CNN-News 18, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani accused Congress sympathiser Tehseen Poonawalla of making an inappropriate comment against her.

The comment Irani was referring to was made in February 2016, when the nationalism debate had been raging across universities in India. At that time, Irani was the human resource development minister and was under fire from various quarters over her handling of the student protests at JNU, Hyderabad University and Jadavpur University.

Irani alleged that in a tweet, Poonawalla, who is related to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, 'requested' her to 'erect' a 56 inch pole in every university with a condom on it. The tweet was in response to her ministry's diktat on flying the national flag in every university across India.

The tweet, Poonawalla told CNN-News18, is a work of Photoshop and that he does not delete any of his tweets.

Poonawalla also rejected the allegations against him. He also claimed he has been an ardent supporter of women's rights, including their right to wear whatever they want.

Later, Poonwalla took to Twitter to defend himself.

The Congress sympathiser also threatened legal action against Irani for defaming him through his tweets.

His brother Shehzad Poonawalla also came to the rescue claming that Poonawalla's account was verified only a few months back.

Poonawalla had also made an apparently sexist remark when she was stripped of her HRD portfolio and shifted to the Textiles Ministry in July 2016.

Smriti Irani has been at the receiving end of numerous sexist remarks.

On 25 January, BJP MP Vinay Katiyar, while comparing Irani to Priyanka Gandhi, had called her pretty.

Assam Congress leader Nilamani Sen had made a derogatory remark against Irani.

Senior JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav, already infamous for his numerous sexist barbs, took a dig at the minister in 2015, when he had remarked on the floor of the house, "I know what you are."

Updated Date: Feb 05, 2017 13:34 PM

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