Who’s anti-women, Modi or the media?

We know what Narendra Modi said about Sunanda Tharoor. But we weren't told about the rest of that speech

Now that the pious outrage over Narendra Modi's tasteless remark describing Sunanda Pushkar as a "50-crore rupee girlfriend" of Shashi Tharoor has subsided, I hope we can examine the issue in perspective.

I write this after viewing Modi's entire speech on YouTube, delivered during the election campaign in Himachal Pradesh. It provides an illustrative example of how our media steadfastly avoids discussion on serious issues and picks up only sensational and titillating tidbits, especially with regard to women, even while pretending to be guardians of women's rights and honour.

The bulk of Modi's speech dealt with burning issues such as price rise and Centre-state relations. He focused in particular on the impact of inflation on poor households and addressed specific issues concerning women among the masses. For example, when talking about the effect of the quantum leap in the price of gas cylinders, he expressed concern that the unrealistic quota of six gas cylinders per household per year would affect people in the hill regions more adversely since the cold weather increases the consumption of gas. He pointed out that it would force poorer households to revert to using firewood. That, in turn, would increase women's drudgery, since they would have to spend hours cutting and gathering fuel wood from forests leading to further deforestation.

He then described how the Central government had torpedoed the piped gas supply programme of the Gujarat government, claiming that the state had already provided cooking gas pipelines in 300 villages covering seven lakh households. His plan was to have covered 20 lakh households by this year. Piped gas costs half as much as cylindered gas. But the UPA government passed a law stipulating that only the Central government can supply piped gas.

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