Rahul Gandhi under fire over misogynistic remarks against Indian female defence minister

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Rahul Gandhi under fire over misogynistic remarks against Indian female defence minister

NEW DELHI - Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi has come under fire for misogynistic remarks when he asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “be a man” and not field a woman, the defense minister, to defend him in debates over a controversial fighter jet deal.

He mocked Modi yesterday for staying away from parliament as it discussed accusations of corruption against the government in a deal to buy 36 Rafale planes from France.

Gandhi, the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that has ruled India for decades, often calls Modi a “thief” while the prime minister addresses him as “privileged dynast” in most of his public speeches.

Gandhi’s comments drew widespread criticism on social media. Some people said Sitharaman - the second woman to run the defense ministry after the late Indira Gandhi, a former prime minister and Rahul Gandhi’s grandmother - deserved an apology.

Sitharaman has not commented but her cabinet colleague, Sushma Swaraj, said Gandhi’s comments hit a “new low in the history of Indian politics”.

New Delhi