PM Modi draws flak for 'despite being a woman' remark
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today drew flak for his remark praising his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina for her resolve against terror "despite being a woman" with Congress accusing him of practicing "male chauvinism" and netizens calling it "sexist".
"It shows a patronising attitude and male chauvinism. This is insulting to womanhood. He has embarrassed Hasina and insulted woman leaders," Congress leader Anand Sharma said. He also called Modi a "multiple-offender", saying the Prime Minister has always been making comments on foreign soil which have stoked controversies.
However, BJP defended Modi's comments, saying he was only complimenting Hasina and asked Congress to appreciate his achievements as "people of India and world leaders are doing".
At an event in Dhaka yesterday, Modi had said, "It is heartening that Prime Minister of Bangladesh, despite the fact that she is a woman, is openly saying that she has zero tolerance for terrorism. I would like to congratulate Sheikh Hasina for her firmness to deal with the menace." Attacking Modi for his "derogatory" comments, Congress spokesperson Shobha Oza reminded him that BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee had hailed former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as 'goddess durga' after she led India to victory over Pakistan in 1971, resulting in the formation of Bangladesh.
"It shows the RSS' petty-minded attitude towards women because it has never respected woman and its activities have always been against them. This is derogatory," she said.
Attacking Congress for its criticism of Modi over the comments, BJP leader Shina N C said the Prime Minister was in fact giving a "compliment" to his Bangladeshi counterpart.
"He (Modi) said it is such a herculean task to fight terror and for a woman it is even more difficult. It was the biggest compliment he was paying to Hasina. She has taken it as a compliment," she said, adding she was appalled at the Congress' attack on the Prime Minister.
BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said Congress should appreciate Modi's successes abroad like 125 crore people of India and leaders across the world.
Twitter, where Modi enjoys huge following, was full of digs at him for his "sexist" and "patronising" comments. Many women users said sarcastically that they were on Twitter "despite being a woman".
#DespiteBeingAWoman was the top trend on the micro-blogging site but Modi supporters hit back and #ModiEmpowersWomen soon began trending.