Shashi Tharoor apologises after his caption on selfie with six women MPs sparks row

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday (November 29, 2021) tendered an apology after his selfie with six women MPs with the caption “Who says the Lok Sabha isn’t an attractive place to work?” triggered a controversy with many rights activists and women organisations accusing him of “sexism”.

In his defence, the Thiruvananthapuram MP said that the “whole selfie thing” was done at the women MPs’ initiative in “great good humour and it was they who asked me to tweet it in the same spirit”.

While attending the first day of the Winter Session of the Parliament, Tharoor took to his official social media handles and posted a selfie with Supriya Sule, Preneet Kaur, Thamizhachi Thangapandian, Mimi Chakraborty, Nusrat Jahan Ruhi and Jyothimani.

“Who says the Lok Sabha isn’t an attractive place to work? With six of my fellow MPs this morning,” he wrote.

His caption then stirred controversy with many accusing him of “sexism” and “objectification”.

National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma said that Shashi Tharoor is demeaning their contribution to Parliament and politics by making them an object of attraction.

“Stop objectifying women in parliament,” she added.

BJP Spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla also slammed the Congress leader and said that no woman in the country should be reduced to just about her looks.

“A large number of people will feel very discomforted by an attempt by Mr Tharoor, I think it may be an innocuous or subconscious attempt, indeed he has reduced, particularly our women MPs who contribute a great deal in the nation-building process, just to their looks,” he was quoted as saying by PTI news agency.

After the backlash, Tharoor apologised and said, “I am sorry some people are offended but I was happy to be roped into this show of workplace camaraderie. That’s all this is.”

TMC MP Mauhua Moitra also defended Tharoor and said, “Not surprised that a bunch of ugly trolls attacking Shashi Tharoor on a non-issue to detract attention from this non-attractive government’s decision to not allow a discussion on the farm act repeal.”

(With agency inputs)