A day after Rahul Gandhi was asked at a press conference about union minister MJ Akbar, caught in #MeToo controversy, the Congress president tweeted his response saying, “It’s about time everyone learns to treat women with respect and dignity. I’m glad the space for those who don’t, is closing. The truth needs to be told loud and clear in order to bring about change,” said Mr Gandhi.
In the last few days, two Congress leaders have demanded the resignation of the junior foreign minister, either explain the sexual harassment allegations made by women journalists, or quit said, Congress leader Jaipal Reddy on Wednesday.
Yesterday during a press conference on the alleged Dassault scam, Mr Gandhi had refused to answer when asked about editor-turned-BJP politician, who is now on an official tour to Nigeria.
Mr Akbar is the first high profile person in the government to be outed as a sexual predator by not less than seven journalists, who were junior to him, when he was the editor at The Telegraph and The Asian Age.
After initial silence, women ministers in the Narendra Modi government came out in support of the #MeToo movement. Yesterday, textile minister Smriti Irani in a strong statement, underscored that women who are speaking up now should be supported and not victimised. Ms Irani however, avoided a specific question on Mr Akbar saying the “gentleman concerned” is the best person to speak about it.
Government sources have told NDTV that Mr Akbar should take a call on whether to resign after being accused of sex harassment. Mr Akbar’s version would be heard after he returned, they said. “There is no FIR or formal complaint. These are moral issues and he should take a call,” said sources.