Sexist remark: Women’s panel initiates probe

Josephine criticised her party colleague Vijayaraghavan for his lack of alertness in making the comments.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Women’s Commission has initiated a probe into LDF convener A. Vijayaraghavan’s sexist remarks against Alathur UDF candidate Ramya Haridas. chairperson M.C. Josephine has asked law officer Vanaja Kumari to file a report at the earliest.

Josephine criticised her party colleague Vijayaraghavan for his lack of alertness in making the comments. Josephine maintained that it was inappropriate for Vijaya-raghavan to speak like that against a woman.

“Josephine entrusted Vanaja Kumari to file a report on Tuesday. The official is examining the audio and video clips of the speech made by Vijayaraghavan at Ponnani during the LDF's convention,” said a KWC official. “The woman candidate of Alathur had visited P.K. Kunhalikutty. I don’t know what will happen to her now,” he reportedly said before CM Pinarayi Vijayan joined the convention on Monday.

The Congress leadership came down heavily on him for insulting a dalit woman leader with the sexist remarks made by A. Vijayaraghavan against Alathur UDF candidate Ramya Haridas putting the ruling front on the defensive, the CPM state secretariat on Wednesday felt that there was lack of alertness on the part of LDF convenor. At the state secretariat meeting held at the AKG Centre here, Vijayaraghavan came in for criticism from the members. They opined that on the eve of a crucial election, the convenor should have exercised restraint. Such needless and careless remarks would only give an opportunity to the opponents to campaign against the front. The LDF convenor reportedly admitted that he should have been careful with the words. Though he maintained that the remarks were not aimed at hurting the sentiments of any candidate, the members felt that the damage had already been done. Though the CPM leaders and LDF leaders had openly defended Vijayaraghavan, there is a feeling in the party that direct reaction on the issue should be avoided in the wake police and womens commission probing the matter. However, in public the CPM leadership will not criticize the convenor.

The assessment in the party is that the remarks had caused temporary setback to the party at a time when LDF candidates were surging ahead in campaigning in various constituencies. With the media covering each development linked to the controversial remarks in detail, the LDF leaders are worried about the bad publicity the front is receiving in the crucial phase of campaigning. Many in the party feel that Vijayaraghavan should have apologised to the UDF candidate. Instead he tried to justify the speech and defend his remarks by giving political explanation. Meanwhile, CPM central leaders made it clear the party stood for women’s rights.

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