In a debate moderated by TIMES NOW's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, panelists -- Abhijeet Mukherjee, MP, LS, Congress; Rahul Easwar, Social Activist; Rahul Narvekar, Sr Advocate & Spokesperson, Shiv Sena; Vani Tripathi, National Secretary, BJP; Vrinda Grover, Human Rights Lawyer & Activist; Roshan Abbas, Filmmaker; Umang Sabharwal, Organiser, Slutwalk; and Arpita Ghosh, Theatre Artist -- discuss the issue of Congress MP Abhijit Mukherjee's sexist remark, whether he should be allowed to get away with his 'dented & painted' remark, and if his remark reflects the growing sexist bias among India's politicians.
President Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit stoked a major controversy by describing women participating in Delhi protests against gangrape of a student as 'highly dented and painted', triggering angry backlash. "Those who are coming in the name of students in the rallies, sundori, sundori mahila (beautiful women), highly dented and painted," Abhijit Mukherjee, an MP from Jangipur, told a vernacular news channel. "Giving interviews in TV and showing off their children. I wonder whether they are students at all," he said, adding, "what's basically happening in Delhi is something like pink revolution, which has very little connection with ground realities." As his "insensitive" remarks sparked outrage, his sister Sharmistha expressed "utter shock and anguish" and apologised on his behalf. "I express my utter shock and anguish. I really apologise to every women, man and every sensitive person in this country... I am utterly shocked and only thing I can say is that I really apologise on his behalf... I am quite surprised with what my brother said," Sharmistha said. Asked whether Abhijit should apologise for his words, 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," she said. On whether her father would be embarrassed with Abhijit's remarks, Sharmistha said, "I am sure he will be. I can say that he also shares my view.... One thing is for sure that he (Pranab) does not agree with his (Abhijit) views. I am sure. He (Pranab) has made a statement and during our personal interactions, he expressed his anguish." Soon after Abhijit said, "I apologise to all the people whose sentiments who got hurt because of these sentences and these sentences are withdrawn" but the women activists and political leaders were unimpressed.