Speaking at a rally in Patna, the politician said that a dishonest vote is bad for the entire nation whereas a woman’s honour only impacts a village.
Sharad Yadav, the former head of the JD(U) and current Rajya Sabha member, is the latest contributor to the archive of ridiculous and demeaning things Indian politicians have said about women. While addressing a rally in Patna on Tuesday, Yadav said that the honour of a vote is greater than the honour of a daughter.
His exact words, as reported by Indian Express, were, “beti ki izzat se vote ki izzat badi hai.”
Yadav made the comment as he tried to emphasise the importance of votes, saying,”People need to be educated about the ballot paper. The integrity of a vote is bigger than the integrity of a daughter. If a daughter loses honour, the village loses its honour. But if a vote is sold, the nation will lose its honour,” NDTV reported.
He later justified his statement to India Today, saying, “Vote aur beti ke prati prem aur mohabbat ek si honi chahiye. Maine bilkul galat nahi kaha, jaise beti se pyar karte hai waise hi vote se bhi hona chahiye tab desh aur sarkaar acchi banegi.” (We should love votes and daughters equally. I didn’t say anything wrong. We should love votes the way we love our daughters, only then will we have good governments.”)
Yadav now finds himself in the company of other politicians who have made sexist remarks in the recent past.
Most recently, Karnataka home minister G. Parmeshwar’s comments on the Bengaluru molestation incident on new year’s eve. He blamed the mass molestation on “Western culture” explaining that these things “are bound to happen.”
Samajwadi Party leader Abu Azmi was no better when he not only said the women had it coming because they were wearing short dresses but also compared them to petrol and sugar, saying, “You have to keep petrol away from fire. And if there is sugar, ants will come automatically to it.”
Here are some other examples of outrageous comments made by other politicians.
1. In June 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for taking a strong stance against terrorism “despite being a woman“. Just a year earlier, he drew praise for saying, in his Independence Day speech, “I want to ask parents when your daughter turns 10 or 12 years old, you ask, ‘Where are you going? When will you return? Do the parents dare to ask their sons, ‘Where are you going? Why are you going? Who are your friends?’ After all, the rapist is also someone’s son.” In 2012, he was widely criticised for referring to Sunanda Pushkara, the (since deceased) wife of Congress politician Shashi Tharoor as a ’50 crore ki girlfriend’.
2. In July 2016, the then BJP UP vice-president Dayashankar Singh (who just yesterday shared a dais with the prime minister at an election rally) in parliament compared BSP leader Mayawati to a sex worker. “Mayawati gives tickets for one crore rupees and if there is someone who can give Rs 2 crore than she sells it for Rs 2 crore within an hour. If someone is ready to give Rs 3 crore by the evening, she gives the ticket to him. She is even worse than a [expletive],” said Singh.
3. In March 2015, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said in parliament, “The women of the south are dark but they are as beautiful as their bodies…We don’t see it here. They know dance.”
4. In April 2014, then SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said “boys will be boys” while referring to the Shakti Mills gang rape case. “The poor fellows, three of them have been sentenced to death. Should rape cases lead to hanging? Boys are boys, they make mistakes. Two or three have been given the death sentence in Mumbai,” he said.
5. When thousands of women and men took to the streets in Delhi to protest against the December 2013 gang rape of Jyoti Singh in Delhi, President Pranab Mukherjee’s son, Abhijit Mukherjee of the Congress, said it was only “dented and painted” women who were coming out to protest.
6. In 2013, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said rape was a creation of urbanisation and that rapes happened only “in India, not Bharat”.
7. Spiritual guru Asaram Bapu (who has been charged with sexual assault and murder) said after the Jyoti Singh gang rape that she might have been let off if she had called her attackers “bhaiyya” and begged them to let her go.
8. In 2014, a video of Trinamool Congress leader Tapas Pal saying he would “ask his boys to go and rape CPI(M) women” went viral. “Earlier, you guys have bullied me on various occasions. If you insult the mothers and daughters of Trinamool workers. Then I won’t spare you. I will let loose my boys in your homes and they will commit rape. I will teach each of you a lesson,” Pal said. He later claimed that he had said “raid” and not “rape”.