'No Women In RSS Wearing Shorts' - Rahul’s Political Ploy Backfires

Written By Annanya Johari | Mumbai | Published:

It is natural for Rahul Gandhi to attack the BJP and the RSS, after all, they are his political opponents. He did exactly that in Vadodara when he was campaigning for the upcoming assembly polls but, one comment from the man has sparked off a controversy. 

Rahul said, "Have you seen a single woman at an RSS shakha wearing shorts? I have never seen any. Why aren’t women allowed in RSS? They have so many women in the party, but I have not seen a single woman in the RSS. What mistake have they made?” 

With that one comment, Rahul has given enough ammunition to his political foes. His fierce opponent in Amethi Smriti Irani is asking, "Does Rahuji believe that wearing shorts is a sign of empowerment? Today an indecent comment has been made against our sisters". An RSS spokesperson said, "Either Rahul is ill-informed or ill-advised. RSS has a women's volunteer wing since 1936 called the Rashtra Sevika Samiti which has 4000 shakhas around the country". 

While Rahul has every right to take on the BJP and the RSS it is the framing of his argument which has backfired. It isn't factually correct either. A well-known fact is that the parent body of the BJP is the RSS. Sushma Swaraj, the tallest woman leader in the party and also the foreign minister started her political career five decades back with the ABVP which is also a part of RSS. Her father Hardev Sharma was also high-level functionary of the RSS. To add to that BJP leaders like Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani and Maneka Gandhi are all handling key portfolios in the cabinet. Nupur Sharma, one of the well-known spokespersons of the BJP was once the President of ABVP and Delhi University Students Union.  

Maybe it would have been better for Rahul Gandhi to seek answers on women's security or the women's reservation bill in parliament. Recently Rahul was in the news for telling an audience in the United States that dynastic politics is common in India. He said, "Don’t get after me – because that’s how the country is running". The BJP has been quick to pick on Rahul, be it for his 'suit bootki sarkar jibe', calling demonetization a 'fair and lovely yojana'' and for saying that 'poverty was a state of mind'. 

In a few weeks or days from now Rahul will be elected as the President of the Congress party. While his mother Sonia Gandhi carefully crafted her reputation and public statements over the years which earned her respect among allies and even among BJP leaders, Rahul Gandhi will have to be far more careful. He has always been the heir apparent but is yet to win the confidence and respect of allies and even seniors in his own party.