‘NCW notice is an election gimmick’

November 6th, 2008 - 8:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Nov 6 (IANS) With the Delhi state legislative assembly elections less than a month away, Delhi’s mayor and the leader of opposition in the capital’s largest municipal authority are slugging it out on issues of gender and clothing. It started with a remark from the opposition leader of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) Jai Kishan Sharma on Mayor Arti Mehra wearing a jacket in summer.

MCD women counsellors also raised objections against Sharma’s comments on Mehra’s stand on women safety and health in the national capital to the National Commission for Women (NCW).

Following a complaint from MCD women counsellors and Mehra that the opposition leader had made “outrageous” remarks against her, the NCW issued a showcause notice to Sharma and asked him to reply in 48 hours here Wednesday.

Sharma, however, insisted that the remarks were generic and did not target but questioned her stand on the “pitiable state of women in the capital”

“I had merely asked what the Mayor planned to do about the rising number of rape cases in municipal schools, and about counsellor J.K. Dasgupta having thrown acid on his domestic help.”

Sharma had also commented that the Mayor’s inaction “being a woman” was “reproachable”.

He also said that in the letter to the NCW, he will mention the context of his remarks and said that his “words had been twisted”.

“This is all a political gimmick! She first wanted an apology, I apologized before national media and now she took the matter further for the party to bank on for upcoming elections,” Sharma said.

The Mayor, meanwhile, has held that the opposition leader is a “sick man” and is just delaying the matter.

“He started it!” said Mehra.

“He is just prolonging the matter by calling it politics. Now I will accept no less than a written apology - else I will take this matter further,” she said.

Over a fortnight ago, Sharma, from the Congress, had commented on the mayor from the Bharatiya Janata Party, wearing her trademark Nehru jacket in the city’s warm weather with “so much attitude as if it were a bulletproof jacket”, sparking a heated political skirmish here.

MCD Women counsellors had expressed that they feel insecure due to Sharma’s “chauvinist attitude”.

To which Sharma said: “I raised an issue pertinent to women in society - if children are being raped in schools, pregnant women are delivering in unhygienic condition due to lapse in MCD hospitals and there is injustice against sisters in society, I will speak - and as women they (mayor and women counsellors) should look into the matter, not hold me by the neck”

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