Standing committee member of the the Dahal-Nepal faction of CPN Raghuji Pant has apologized for his slanderous and sexist comments about National Assembly member Komal Oli.
Pant had made the sexist and slanderous comments about lawmaker Oli, who is in the CPN faction led by Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli, while addressing a party program in Kathmandu on Saturday to allege that Oli, a popular singer, was made lawmaker and central committee member ahead of deserving women who have toiled for years for the party. "Komal Oli became lawmaker after she said 'May I get to elope' pulling her sari up and showing white calf. Old female comrades with graying hair and wrinkles have neither become National Assembly lawmaker once nor central member," Pant had alleged.
Pant has apologized after his comments have been widely condemned in the social media and Oli, who is also a singer, threatened to take him to the court. "I am really sorry if my words hurt her. I am expressing sorrow from the depth of my heart. Sorry, my intention was not that!" Pant told Setopati. "I had tried to refer to her song (titled may I get to elope) to provide context. I am extremely sorry if my words got mixed up and my expression hurt her."
Pant, a former journalist, urged the media to not present the issue in a way that stirs controversy and pointed that he has always raised voice for gender equality. "She (Oli) has used a very unpleasant word 'lowly' to abuse me. I don't want to go to those words. Such expression may have come as she felt hurt. I am someone who respect all the women."
He added that he genuinely wishes the women to move forward in politics. "My comment was about the powerful practice of picking women who are around oneself and promote them even though many women are in politics."
Oli, on the other hand, told Setopati that she has been hurt and will seek legal remedy. "I had good relation with him. There was no animosity. He was press advisor to Radio Nepal (where Oli worked in the past) and would come to Radio Nepal. I would address him as elder brother," she stated. "But I suddenly heard his expression yesterday. I am baffled myself. I am hurt."
She pointed that she is not a direct competitor to Pant and got ticket for National Assembly from the women's cluster on recommendation of the party committee, provincial committee and the standing committee which also included Pant as a member. "Don't think there was any competition. But he apparently was not happy about some thing and used lowly words. He spoke non-political things talking about sexuality. I am baffled myself."
She also complained about recent slanderous and sexist comments about female politicians including President Bidya Devi Bhandari. "Such comments are made from time to time when women achieve success or get to positions. I feel this is an attack on all the women and not just me," she stated. "I feel I am just a character. This is the attitude in which women are taken. This is not just on me. Comments are apparently made even on other women when they join politics. I feel such practice needs to end."