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Posted at: Oct 12, 2018, 12:22 PM; last updated: Oct 12, 2018, 7:35 PM (IST)

Week after MeToo explosion, Rahul Gandhi speaks up

Week after MeToo explosion, Rahul Gandhi speaks up
Rahul Gandhi. File photo

Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service 
New Delhi, October 12

Putting to rest the anxieties over his silence in the MeToo campaign, Congress President Rahul Gandhi finally spoke up, though not very strongly.

In a tweet a while ago, Gandhi tagged the MeToo hashtag to say “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.”

In his delayed statement, Gandhi didn’t mention the mounting allegations on Minister of State for Foreign Affairs MJ Akbar or seek his ouster. Gandhi chose to stick to generalisations.

The Congress has been accused of being coy in the MeToo matter having a lot to answer itself. 

Party’s NSUI chief Fairoz Khan is facing a police complaint of sexual harassment for two months now, with no action against him.

Victims of Khan have also taken to Twitter to name him in the MeToo campaign for intimidating them. Khan hails from Jammu and Kashmir.

AICC general secretary in charge, JK, Ambika Soni, when contacted, said she would not name any individuals.

“I won’t comment on individuals. That will dilute the campaign. I’m in solidarity with victims,” Soni said, adding that it is not for her to make statements on Akbar.

Congress media head Randeep Surjewala hasn’t yet commented on the MeToo campaign or on Akbar.

The only party leader to have demanded Akbar’s explanation or resignation is veteran Jaipal Reddy, who said Akbar owed to offer a satisfactory explanation to the charges against him or resign.

Privately too, there has been talk of Gandhi maintaining silence on the matter for more than a week since it exploded.

Congress social media head Divya Spandana, who is known to be active on Twitter, has also chosen to stay on the margins of the MeToo debate.

Perhaps the leaders were waiting for Rahul to take a line considering the Congress social media has also been hit by sexual harassment scandals with no action being taken against the alleged harassers.

But even in his Twitter message, Gandhi has not demanded Akbar’s exit.

“We have to first put our house in order before we look outside,” acknowledged a senior woman leader of the party.

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