Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Friday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should speak on the allegations levelled against journalist-turned-politician MJ Akbar as part of the MeToo movement.
Pointing that allegations have been levelled against Akbar by not just one woman, the BJP leader said, “Allegations have been levelled against him not by one but multiple women. I’ve already said that I support #MeToo movement. I don’t think it’s wrong if they’re coming out after a long time. The Prime Minister should speak on this.”
Swamy’s remark against Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar came as a shot in the arm for the opposition Congress, which has been demanding the resignation of the journalist-turned-politician over allegations against him.
At least five women have accused MJ Akbar of sexual harassing them when he worked as the editor of a newspaper. The Minister of State has not made any comment in his defence till now.
Union Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister for Woman and Child Development have also refrained from making any comment on the issue.
Meanwhile, sources have told Zee News that Akbar may be asked to quit his position as the Minister of State for External Affairs and work for the Bharatiya Janata Party. MJ Akbar, who joined the BJP ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, was elected to the Rajya Sabha a year later.
In October last year, when the #MeToo campaign peaked in Hollywood, journalist Priya Ramani had written an article for Vogue India, titled, “To the Harvey Weinstein of the world” and narrated her ordeal about the gut-wrenching incident of sexual misconduct she faced during a job interview with a renowned journalist who had “transformed Indian journalism”.
Ramani, recently on Twitter, claimed that the journalist she was referring to was MJ Akbar.
Another journalist, Shutapa Paul, recalling a 2011 incident, tweeted on Wednesday, “As I tried to dash out the door, #MJAkbar gave me a hard hug, I ducked whatever else could have followed and fled. He seemed amused at my ducking.”
Paul added that later, when he went to Kolkata, he wanted to meet her late night at his hotel room but she excused out.