In the wake of the number of allegations leveled against Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Subramanian Swamy has asked PM Modi to speak on this matter, while putting his weight behind the #MeToo movement.
Speaking to ANI on the controversial matter, he said "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."
As many as 10 women have come out and spoken up on the harassment they faced in the hands of MJ Akbar, when he was working as a journalist. Sources within the government have hinted that the minister may well resign, but his colleagues have surprisingly been silent on this matter.
The only minister who has spoken up and called for investigation in the issue is Union Minister Ramdas Athawale. On Thursday, he told ANI,
"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."
Prior to him, the other three ministers in the cabinet - Smriti Irani, Maneka Gandhi and Sushma Swaraj were asked about the allegations, but they chose to not take a stand.
Stating that she wasn't present at the situation, hence it will not be appropriate for her to comment, Textiles Minister Smriti Irani had said,
"I will only say this that the gentleman concerned would be better positioned to speak on this issue. I appreciate the media is accosting his female colleague but I think it is for him to issue a statement, not for me, because I was personally not present there."
As for Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, she initially had no comments on the controversy, before telling a media house that investigation needs to be taken in the #MeToo cases, though, without naming MJ Akbar.
"Men who are in positions of power often do this. And it applies to the media as well as to politics or senior personnel in companies," she told a TV news channel on Tuesday.
The first minister to be questioned on the allegations against MJ Akbar was EAM Sushma Swaraj. When quizzed by a journalist about the controversy, she simply walked away tight lipped.