Elections 2021

Left politician eats crow after comments against Rahul

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on April 01, 2021

Kerala leaders lash at former MP from Idukki

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s leadership skills have been feted or reviled, depending on which side of the political divide one is articulating his views. Even some of his partymen cannot vouch either way, but this constant debate places Gandhi at the centre of interest.

But a young politician and a former member of Parliament went a bit too far recently, lampooning Gandhi for the choice (the gender, to be precise) of the audience he chooses to address while campaigning, and the pains he takes to make an impression on them.

George’s comments

Joyce George, the errant former MP from Idukki who won as an Independent supported by the Left Democratic Front (LDF), seemed to have underestimated the maturity of the political class in Kerala across the divide, and had to eat the humble pie after an unprovoked outburst against Gandhi.

George made the remarks at a rally in Erattayar (Idukki) on March 29, when he brought up Gandhi’s interaction with students at a prominent women’s college in Kochi the previous week. Gandhi had reportedly given aikido martial art lessons to students while speaking on the campaign trail.

George said Gandhi visited only women’s colleges on tours and that young women should be “cautious” while dealing with him. “He goes to colleges and teaches girls how to stand straight, how to bend. Don’t go near him and do such things… he isn’t married,” agency reports quoted him.

Pinarayi’s displeasure

George had made the “objectionable comments” against Gandhi while campaigning for a much elder MM Mani, a sitting member of the Assembly from Udumbanchola (Idukki) and Electricity Minister, who himself has courted controversy many a times for speaking “out of turn” and “out of context”.

Outgoing Chief Minister and LDF supremo Pinarayi Vijayan did not hide his discomfort over the disparaging remarks against Gandhi and chastises George, saying that it was not fair to make personalised attacks against rivals.

“We will oppose his (Rahul Gandhi’s) politics and fight him politically. It is not CPI(M) or LDF’s culture to attack someone personally,” he said. The CPI(M) State unit said that it does not agree with George’s comments.

Calls for arrest

George sought to make amends for the “choice of words” while speaking the next day at a function in the presence of CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat. He proceeded to state at the meeting held near Kumily that he was sorry if the words he used had hurt the “sentiments of any other person”.

Ramesh Chennithala, Leader of Opposition in the outgoing Assembly, had demanded the arrest of George for making “such distasteful” comments. Former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Oommen Chandi said that such language should not have originated from a State like Kerala.

Published on April 01, 2021

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