President's son embarrasses the first family

Published: 28 December, 2012 09:21 IST | Agencies |

Criticism flies thick and fast to Abhijit Mukherjee's 'dented-painted' comment; sister expresses shock, disappointment over the remark, says 'family is not like that'

President Pranab Mukherjee’s son Abhijit, a Congress MP, has landed in a controversy following his comments running down women who had been participating in the mass protests at Delhi after the December 16 gang rape of a trainee physiotherapist.

Abhijit Mukherjee's sibling Sharmishtha
Oh brother! Abhijit Mukherjee’s sibling Sharmishtha said that her brother’s comment reeks of insensitivity. File pic

Not only did Abhijit’s sister Sharmishtha express “utter shock and anguish” at the remarks, she also apologised and asked her brother to do the same. Later during the day, Abhijit offered an unconditional apology for his comments.

Speaking to a regional television channel in his erstwhile assembly constituency Nalhati in Birbhum district on Christmas Day, Abhijit said that “highly dented-painted” women visited discotheques and then appeared at India Gate to protest the Delhi bus gang rape.

He also said the “Sundari, Sundari (beautiful) mahila (women)” were divorced from ground realities. He also wondered whether some of them were at all students.

“What’s basically happening in Delhi is somewhat like Egypt, where there was something called the Spring Revolution, which has very little connection with ground realities.

“In India, staging candle-light marches, going to discotheques — we did all this during our student life too, we were students too — I know very well what kind of character students should have.”

“Those who claim to be students — I can see many beautiful women among them they were highly dented-painted — they’re giving interviews on TV, they’ve brought their children to show them the scenes. It’s fashionable to attend protest marches now.

“I have grave doubts whether they’re students because women of that age are generally not students,” said Abhijit, who was elected MP from Jangipur Lok Sabha seat to fill up the vacancy caused by his father’s elevation to the presidency.

Abhijit’s comments soon became viral on the net, and criticism flew thick and fast, embarrassing the nation’s first family no end.

Soon, his sister Sharmishtha stepped forward to undo the damage. “I am quite surprised and disappointed with what my brother said. I apologise on his behalf,” said the danseuse.

“I express my utter shock and anguish. I really apologise to every women, man and every sensitive person in this country”.

To a query as to whether Abhijit should apologise, she said, “I completely agree. He should immediately apologise.

“Not only as a President’s son, but as any sensitive man, he should not have made this kind of statement. Forget about being a political leader, it shows a certain degree of insensitivity... My family is not like that,” Sharmishtha said.

She also said her father would disagree with Abhijit’s view.

In a tight spot, Abhijit apologised and withdrew the “dented-painted” comment. “I withdraw the particular sentence ‘dented and painted’ women. I have no intention to insult any woman,” he said.

There was large-scale outrage in the Capital as protestors, mainly students, gathered in large numbers to express their agony over the rape of a paramedical student.

Some of the protestors even took to violence and there were clashes between them and the policemen.

Should Abhijeet Mukherjees sexist comment about women protesters being ‘dented and painted’ be reciprocated with ‘damning and shamming’?
— @AzmiShabana

Abhijit Mukherjee is one of those mentally bankrupt politicians who are completely unaware of reality of Modern India. He needs treatment.
— @AnupamPkher

Proud to be a dented, painted disco dancer! Better that than being a badey baap ka dumb beta! Sotti!
— @DeShobhaa

Abhijit Mukherjee, the Presidents son, says students should not wear make up and/or go to discotheques!! #alltimelow
— @FarOutAkhtar

Abhijit Mukherjee should learn from Sheila Dikshit. She would never have apologized, rather would’ve blamed the fur cap he was wearing.
— @ShirishKunder

What a bunch of regressive donks these politicians are. All we want is a safer society is that so difficult to give to tax payers.
— @rampalarjun

Abhijeet Mukherjee is one more reason for us to ask, what the hell is going on ?!
— @kunalkohli

Dear Mr Mukherjee, forget denting & painting, u need a complete engine overhaul! ... and we might need to put a boot in your boot as well!
— @gauravkapur

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