The Congress Thursday termed the NCW notice to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi as "politically motivated" as the party defended its leader and accused the Prime Minister of "lowering" the political discourse.
Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said the National Commission For Women (NCW) was adopting a "double standard" by sending a notice to Mr Gandhi, while remaining silent on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "objectionable references" to Sonia Gandhi during state assembly polls.
"There cannot be double standards, this is politically motivated," he said when asked about the NCW notice to Mr Gandhi.
"Was the NCW in sleep mode when the prime minister used objectionable language and style against Sonia Gandhi during poll campaign in state assembly polls, while lowering the dignity of his position? He continues to speak in this mode," Mr Sharma said.
"It does not behoove of the Prime Minister to use such words, the manner in which he speaks. Is this the Prime Minister's work, the manner in which he speaks while clapping his hands. It is the country's misfortune that it has a Prime Minister who works with malice. He has no decency and does not hold the dignity of the post he holds. Why did the women's commission not give a notice to Narendra Modi then? It should seek a response from him on the words used by him," the senior Congress leader asserted.
The National Commission For Women earlier issued the notice to the Congress president for his "extremely misogynistic, offensive and unethical" remarks against Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at a rally in Jaipur.
In the notice, the women's panel said it had taken suo motu cognisance of news reports which appeared in various print and electronic media dated January 9 "wherein it is reported that you have allegedly made remarks insulting against a woman minister".
"What is Rahul Gandhi trying to imply with his misogynistic statement- "... ek mahila say kaha meri raksha kiijiye."? Does he think women are weak? The irony- calling an accomplished defence minister of the largest democracy a weak person," NCW chief Rekha Sharma tweeted.
Mr Gandhi at the farmers' rally on Wednesday had said, "The watchman with a 56-inch chest ran away and told a woman, Sitharamanji, defend me. I won't be able to defend myself, defend me".
The NCW in the notice said, "It has been reported that you allegedly said "..... the PM ran away and asked a ''mahila ''- a veiled reference to Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman - to defend him".
The Commission added that the remarks were extremely misogynistic, offensive, unethical and showed an extreme disrespect towards the dignity and honour of women in general.