‘Goa ministers’ sexist remarks will be poll issue’

Panaji, Dec 10 (IANS) Sexist remarks made by Goa’s ruling politicians, along with corruption, will be key poll issues during the upcoming state assembly elections, All India Mahila Congress President Shobha Ojha said here on Saturday.

While addressing a press conference at the state Congress headquarters in Panaji, Ojha said that several “sexist comments” made by several ministers in the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government as well as the Chief Minister over the last few years, betrayed scant respect for women.

“A minister had said that women don’t serve food or coffee and they are just busy with their TV sets. Earlier, a minister had said that women should not be wearing swimming suits on shores. Such comments will not be taken (lightly) as far as Goa is concerned,” Ojha said.

“We respect the diversity that we have, which the constitution also respects and we shall not allow any party or any section to distort the diversity,” she said.

She was referring to comments made by Goa’s Art and Culture Minister Dayanand Mandrekar, who had said during an award presentation ceremony, that women these days do not even make tea for their husbands as they are busy watching TV serials.

Two years back, several Cabinet Ministers had also objected to women wearing bikinis on Goa’s beaches, claiming it was against Indian culture.

“Corruption of local government would be a big issue and remarks of CM and ministers, the sexist remarks they have been making in Goa clearly showcase the mindset of the government as far as women are concerned,” she said.

“The women, whether in Goa or any part of the country, do not want to be dictated as to what type of clothes we should wear, what we should read, how we should conduct ourselves and we do not give the authority to any person to dictate what is our duty,” she also said.

Polls are likely to be held in Goa early next year.