The Congress and the Left parties Wednesday hailed the resignation of union minister M J Akbar following charges of sexual harassment and dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak up now.
While the Congress termed the resignation as “victory of truth”, it asked whether the prime minister will dare to speak up now.
The Left parties said Akbar’s resignation was a victory for the #MeToo movement and the protests carried out by them against the journalist-turned-politician.
The CPI and the women’s wing of CPI-M, however, said Akbar should have resigned early and the action has come “too late”.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said this was insufficient and sought criminal proceedings against Akbar.
Congress leader Ragini Naik said the silence of Modi on the #MeToo movement is deafening, as she accused the government as being “misogynist” which has “deceived” those crores of women voters who placed their faith, reposed their trust in the BJP in 2014.
“Times is up Modi ji. The silence of PM Modi on #MeToo movement is deafening.
“The silence of Prime Minister Modi has deceived those crores of women voters who had placed their faith, reposed their trust in the BJP in 2014,” she told reporters.
“Now that M J Akbar, who has been accused by no less than 36 women of misconduct and harassment, has finally resigned, will PM Modi dare to speak up,” Naik asked.
“I think the Modi government was compelled to ask M J Akbar to resign from the Union ministry as the #MeToo movement gained momentum in the country. He should have resigned on the first day when his former colleagues made sexual harassment allegations against him,” CPI general secretary Sudhakar Reddy said.
Slamming Akbar for the delay in tendering his resignation, he said, “It is too late”.
CPI Secretary D Raja said, “The resignation can be called a moral victory for all those women who have suffered such sexual harassment”.
He said the social atmosphere in the country was such that women can get the confidence to speak up against the sexual harassment faced by them.
The AAP Wednesday hailed the women who accused Akbar of “sexual harassment” and said his resignation “completely exposed” the ‘Chaal, Charitra and Chehra’ of the ruling BJP at the Centre.
Reacting to Akbar’s resignation, AAP spokesperson Dilip Pandey said the action was “not sufficient” and demanded criminal proceedings against him.
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said she saluted those women who stood on their charges against the minister bravely despite the “brazen” stance taken by the government.
“This resignation is a vindication of the power of truth. More strength to India’s women,” she said.
“The resignation of MoS External Affairs MJ Akbar after serious charges were levelled against him by senior women journalists who worked with him is a vindication of the power of truth even if it began with one brave person speaking up,” she said.
Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev termed Akbar’s stepping down as a “moral victory” for everyone and sought support for the #MeToo movement across party lines.
“M J Akbar’s resignation is a moral victory for everyone. The defamation case can’t change that. The #MeToo movement needs support across party lines,” she tweeted.
“I admire the courage of @priyaramani & all the victims who spoke out against sexual harassment & abuse. @mjakbar s resignation is a moral victory for everyone. The defamation case can’t change that. The #MeToo movement needs support across party lines. ”
Naik said the Congress believes that the belated resignation of Akbar is a result of the persistent pressure put by women who have shared their horrific and uncomfortable stories.
It is also a vindication of the Congress party’s unequivocal stand on the #MeToo movement, she said.
“We also think that it is a time for a fair trial so that justice prevails. This country has a rule of law and the Congress Party believes that any allegation levelled against anybody must pass this test of justice. We hope and wish that all the women fighting this tough battle would be heard and finally justice would be imparted,” she said.