Abdul Bari Siddiqui, a senior leader of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), has clarified his recent controversial statement, which sparked a heated debate after he implied that women who wear lipstick and have “bobcut hair” would demand their rights under the women’s reservation bill. Siddiqui made the remark while addressing party workers in Muzaffarpur on Saturday.
Defending his statement, Siddiqui explained that his intention was to establish a connection with rural women by using a language they could relate to. He emphasized that he did not intend to offend anyone and expressed regret if his words had caused hurt. Siddiqui revealed that he had addressed a gathering primarily composed of extremely backward classes and aimed to convey the RJD’s support for the Women’s Reservation bill.
“In that rally, hundreds of rural women were there… I used that language to explain to the rural woman in their language. My intention was not to hurt anyone… If someone is hurt, I express regret… It was a gathering of extremely backward classes, and I was teaching them… RJD had been in support of Women’s Reservation since the beginning,” Siddiqui stated in an interview with ANI.
Siddiqui’s original comment, which suggested prioritizing reservations for women from marginalized communities over those who wear lipstick and have modern hairstyles, drew criticism from various quarters, particularly the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Critics argued that his remarks reflected a regressive mindset.
BJP MP Sunita Duggal condemned Siddiqui’s statement, describing it as emblematic of a “narrow mentality.” She asserted, “This shows their narrow mindset… Women are making a mark in every area… Giving such statements represents their rude mentality… They want women to do only household work and not contribute to the outside world.”
The controversy surrounding Siddiqui’s comments highlights the ongoing discussions about gender equality, women’s empowerment, and the need for respectful and inclusive language in public discourse.