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On Rahul Gandhi’s “flying kiss” incident, Swati Maliwal questions to Smriti Irani: “Why aren’t you…”

Reacting strongly to Smriti Irani's accusation that Rahul Gandhi had blown a "flying kiss" towards the treasury benches in the Lok Sabha, Swati Maliwal, the head of the Delhi Commission for Women, responded with intensity. She raised the issue of Smriti Irani's lack of anger towards Brij Bhushan, who was accused of sexually harassing Olympic wrestlers, despite the uproar caused by a mere flying kiss.

By Rekha Joshi 
Updated Date

“In the midst of this enormous political controversy surrounding the supposed airborne kiss, so much uproar is ignited. Yet, there is a man named Brij Bhushan seated just two rows behind. He’s the one who brought Olympic wrestlers into a room, placing his hand on their chest, even on their waist, committing acts of sexual assault. Why don’t you direct your anger toward his actions?” Maliwal wrote on the platform X (formerly known as Twitter), as the debate over the Congress leader’s actions continued to rage.

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Maliwal referred to the allegations of sexual harassment made against Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the outgoing chief of the Wrestling Federation of India and a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. These allegations were brought forward by six prominent wrestlers, including Olympic medalists Bajranj Punia and Sakshi Malik.

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After participating in the no-confidence motion debate in the Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi playfully blew a flying kiss, which evoked strong reactions from the members of the treasury benches. Smriti Irani labeled him as a misogynist and claimed that the House had never witnessed such an “indecent act.”

Female members of the BJP met with Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, demanding “severe action” against Gandhi for his “inappropriate gesture.” They filed a complaint signed by more than 20 women parliamentarians, alleging that Gandhi’s behavior not only insulted the dignity of women in the House but also tarnished the reputation and dignity of the esteemed House itself.

In defense of Rahul Gandhi, the Congress party asserted that he has never shown disrespect towards women and accused the BJP of engaging in an “indecent” act by accusing him of misconduct, thereby avoiding a meaningful debate on the issue of Manipur violence.

Manickam Tagore, the Congress whip in the Lok Sabha, criticized Smriti Irani for having a “Rahul phobia” and encouraged her to overcome it. He responded to the BJP’s accusation of Rahul Gandhi’s “misbehavior” in the Lok Sabha by stating that Smriti Irani was excessively focused on Rahul Gandhi.

KC Venugopal, a general secretary of the Congress party, highlighted that during the Bharat Jodo Yatra, the gesture made by Rahul Gandhi was perceived as a symbol of humanity, love, and affection by those who observed it.

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Priyanka Chaturvedi, a member of the Shiv Sena party, defended Rahul Gandhi’s action, explaining that she was present in the visitors’ gallery and interpreted his gesture as one of affection. She questioned the BJP’s discomfort with the gesture, emphasizing that it was a genuine expression of love.

According to Geeta Koda, a Congress MP from Jharkhand, Rahul Gandhi has consistently shown respect towards women, and his conduct has consistently been exemplary.

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