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  India   All India  12 Oct 2018  Ahead of polls, Modi govt feels heat to drop Akbar

Ahead of polls, Modi govt feels heat to drop Akbar

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Oct 12, 2018, 1:48 am IST
Updated : Oct 12, 2018, 1:48 am IST

After the Congress sought his resignation, the CPI(M) on Thursday also demanded Mr Akbar resignation over the allegations against him.

Union textiles minister Smriti Irani on Thursday came out in support of the women who have come out to speak of harassment as part of India’s #MeToo movement. (Photo: Twitter | ANI)
 Union textiles minister Smriti Irani on Thursday came out in support of the women who have come out to speak of harassment as part of India’s #MeToo movement. (Photo: Twitter | ANI)

New Delhi: Despite growing pressure on the Modi government to act against Union minister of state for external affairs M.J. Akbar over allegations of sexual misconduct, there has been no clarity either from the government or the ruling BJP on the issue.

Though both the ruling BJP and the government have yet to react on allegations levelled against Mr Akbar, speculation is rife that the BJP top brass will seek an explanation from Mr Akbar before taking a call on his fate when he returns to India from an official visit on Sunday.

For the BJP, the issue could create trouble in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh, which is represented by Mr Akbar in Rajya Sabha. The saffron party’s poll managers fear that it could dent the party’s image as well as its poll prospects if the Opposition, especially the Congress, decides to highlight it at a time when the ruling BJP is facing one of the toughest electoral battles in the state.

Mr Akbar is expected to return to the country only on Sunday after his official visit to Equatorial Guinea. He was initially supposed to cut short his visit and return on Friday after his visit to Nigeria. However, he will now return as per his original schedule.

Ironically, Mr Akbar reportedly spoke about women’s empowerment in the context of poverty alleviation at the India-West Africa regional conclave in Nigeria.

After the Congress sought his resignation, the CPI(M) on Thursday also demanded Mr Akbar resignation over the allegations against him.

In an indication that Mr Akbar’s fate seemed to have been sealed, the RSS threw its weight behind the victims as senior RSS leader Dattatreya Hosabale shared a post by a woman on Twitter, seeking support for women who have shared their trauma through the #MeToo movement.

Also, Union textiles minister Smriti Irani on Thursday came out in support of the women who have come out to speak of harassment as part of India’s #MeToo movement.

Though Ms Irani declined to speak on charges against Mr Akbar, she said that it was for him “to issue a statement” on the allegations.

“The gentlemen concerned would be better positioned to speak on this issue. I appreciate that the media is accosting his female colleagues but I think it is for the gentleman concerned to issue a statement because I was personally not present there,” replied Ms Irani when asked to react on the issue. She added that anybody speaking out should in no way be shamed, victimised or mocked.

“That is my only appeal to everybody who is witnessing this surge of outpouring of emotions of anger on the Internet and offline also,” Ms Irani said.

On Tuesday, WCD minister Maneka Gandhi had demanded an explanation from Mr Akbar.  

RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale on Thursday reacted to a Facebook post of one Ankhi Das when he tweeted, “I liked it. She has articulated what I was feeling.”

Ms Das had posted, “You needn’t have a #MeToo moment to support the women journalists who have narrated their victimisation. You needn’t even be a woman. You just need to have a sensibility of what is right and what is wrong.”

Tags: modi government, mj akbar, dattatreya hosabale, #metoo, smriti irani