Putting at rest the mystery over his silence over the MeToo campaign, the Congress President, Mr. Rahul Gandhi, has finally spoken up, though not very strongly.
In a tweet.Mr. 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, he didn’t mention the mounting allegations against the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. MJ Akbar, or seek his ouster. Mr. Gandhi chose to stick to generalisations. The Congress has been accused of being coy in the MeToo matter having a lot to answer itself.
The NSUI chief, Mr. Fairoz Khan, is facing a police complaint of sexual harassment for two months now, with no action taken against him.The victims of Khan have also taken to Twitter to name him in the MeToo campaign for intimidating them. Mr. Khan is from Jammu and Kashmir.
The AICC general secretary in charge, JK, Mrs. Ambika Soni, said she would not name any individuals. 'I won’t comment on individuals. That will dilute the campaign. I’m in solidarity with victims.' She said it is not for her to make statements on Mr. Akbar. The party's media head, Mr. Randeep Surjewala, hasn’t yet commented on the campaign or on Mr.Akbar.
The only party leader to have demanded his explanation or resignation is veteran Mr. Jaipal Reddy, who said Mr. Akbar owed to offer a satisfactory explanation to the charges against him or resign. Privately too, there has been talk of Mr. Gandhi maintaining silence on the matter for more than a week since it exploded.
The Congress social media head, Ms. Divya Spandana, who is known to be active on Twitter, has also chosen to stay on the margins of the debate. Perhaps the leaders were waiting for Mr. 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, Mr. Gandhi has not demanded Mr. Akbar’s exit. 'We have to first put our house in order before we look outside,' acknowledged a senior woman leader of the party.