The Bharatiya Janata Party's allies in Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena and Republican Party of India (Athavale) party president Ramdas Athavle has demanded action against Minister MJ Akbar, who has been called out for sexual harassment on Twitter by at least 10 women journalist when he was a an editor. The BJP government ministers are getting repeatedly asked by journalists and at press conferences about MJ Akbar, making it difficult for the government at Centre. MJ Akbar, also a national spokesperson for the BJP, is a Minister of State (MoS) in the Ministry of External Affairs.
Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani reacted to the sexual harassment allegations levelled against her ministerial colleague on Thursday saying, "It is up to the concerned gentleman to issue a statement". Irani further stated that she could not comment as "I am not aware of the cases".
The 42-year-old BJP stalwart, however, reiterated her support to the #MeToo movement, stating that the women coming up with their ordeals should be "respectfully heard".MJ Akbar May be Asked to Resign as Union Minister, Government Wants to Avoid Legal Battle, Say Reports.
The Congress party on Wednesday demanded resignation of MJ Akbar, accused of sexual harassment and misconduct by several women so far, after the #MeToo movement gained momentum in India. Women from the field of media and entertainment have been calling out names on social media, narrating incidents of sexual misdemeanor and assault against them. #MeToo Movement Grips Indian Politics; Female Journalist Accuses Union Minister MJ Akbar Of Making Sexual Advances.
Jaipal Reddy of Congress, speaking at a press conference, had said that the Union Minister M J Akbar "should either give a satisfactory answer to the allegations or he should resign. We demand an inquiry into the matter." The CPI(M) on Thursday also demanded the resignation of Union Minister M J Akbar, citing the sexual harassment charges leveled upon him by women journalists.