BJP, Congress in war of words over Kathua, Unnao rapes

A war of words broke out between the Congress and the BJP over the gang-rapes in Kathua and Unnao.

Congress leader Sushmita Dev hit out at BJP leader Meenakshi Lekhi for suggesting that the Opposition had adopted a "pick and choose" policy while highlighting cases of gang-rapes.

"You see their plan - first shout 'minority minority', then 'Dalit Dalit', and now 'women women' and then try to somehow fix blame of state issues on the Centre. All this while ignoring the strict action being taken by state governments," BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said at a press conference here.

She wondered why the incident of rape in Assam had not received the same kind of coverage that the Kathua and Unnao rapes did.

"A class V student... 12 years old (was) raped and burnt with petroleum. Zakir Hussain was the main culprit with two (other) culprits," Lekhi said.

Congress leader Sushmita Dev condemned Lekhi's statement. "When a woman is stripped and raped and killed, does her religion matter? It does to Narendra Modi according to the Member of Parliament Meenakshi Lekhi. It is a disgrace," Sushmita told reporters here.

The Congress also questioned the silence of women leaders of the BJP, particularly Union ministers Smriti Irani and Sushma Swaraj who made impassioned speeches in favour of women's rights while in Opposition.

"Where is Sushma Swaraj? Where is Smriti Irani? Where are the other prominent women leaders of the BJP who were sloganeering during the UPA? Now some of them are giving us homilies of not to politicise these things," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.

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