In the developing ‘war of words’ at a remark of the JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav on women’s skin, Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani has slammed Yadav by saying the latter does not have the right to make ‘offending’ remarks on women. Yadav said he is ready for a debate.
“Sharad ji is an experienced leader but he doesn’t have the right to comment on women like this in the Rajya Sabha, a place whose responsibility is to work for the safety and respect of women,” said Irani, adding, “I appeal through you (chair) to the gentleman, do not make comments about the color of any woman`s skin. You (Sharad Yadav) are a senior member; a very wrong message is going to the rest of the country.”
During the debate on the insurance bill in the Rajya Sabha last week, the JD(U) leader spoke on Indian’s obsession for fair skin. “Your God is dark like Ravi Shankar Prasad, but your matrimonial ads insist on white-skinned brides.” Yadav said. “The women of the south are dark but they are as beautiful as their bodies… We don’t see it here. They know (how to) dance,” he added, referring to the complexion of South Indian women.
Defending his remark in Rajya Sabha today, Mr. Yadav said, “What have I said … ‘saanvli’ (dark complexioned) women are more in number in India, they are more in number the world over. I am ready to debate with anyone on the struggle of (Ram Manohar) Lohia and others for them.”
Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also expressed anger and criticized the comment. Ms Sitharaman said a veteran politician like Yadav should not have passed such remarks. “That time I was not there in the House. Sharad Yadav is a very senior leader. He has been in the Parliament for so many years. Even I came to know (about his reported comments) through media only. I object to his comments. This should not have happened,” Sitaraman said.