A comment which is sure to cause controversy, Union Minister Uma Bharti has stated that the government should not be dragged into the matter pertaining to the Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar, who has been accused by as many as 10 women of sexual harassment, during his working days as a journalist.
When confronted by media on the recent set of events which sees MJ Akbar in the spotlight, the minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation said,
"The matter is of the times when he was not a part of the Central Government. So, it is a matter between MJ Akbar & the women. Government can say nothing on this."
Similar controversial statement was given by Chief of Madhya Pradesh BJP women wing Lata Kelkar, who supported the #MeToo movement, but criticized the journalists who have spoken up against MJ Akbar.
"Journalists are hurling allegations on him and I don’t consider journalist sisters as so innocent so that anyone can misuse them," said Kelkar while a special emphasis on the word ‘innocent’.
While most of the ministers in government have not taken a clear stand on this controversy, a couple of them have spoken up. BJP MP Subramaniam Swamy, speaking to ANI called for the intervention of PM Modi.
"Allegations have been levelled against him,not by one but multiple women. I've already said that I support #MeToo movement. I don't think it's wrong if they're coming out after a long time....PM should speak on this," he said.
On Thursday, Ramdas Athawale stated that should the Minister of State for External Affairs be found guilty, he should then 'resign'.
"We should listen to his statement. Presently he is out of India. Investigation should happen and if he is found guilty, then he should step down. The complaints by the women are serious, but I feel it is necessary to listen once to MJ Akbar. Police should conduct an investigation and if he is found guilty, then he should resign," he told ANI.
The others in the government, Smriti Irani, Maneka Gandhi and Sushma Swaraj have not taken a stand in one way or the another. Though, the sources in the government have hinted that once MJ Akbar returns from his official trip in Kenya, he may well be asked to resign.