West Bengal Assembly Elections: A Spotlight on Political Discourse and Gender Sensitivity

Apr 26




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In the heat of the West Bengal assembly elections, political leaders are vigorously campaigning to sway public opinion. Amidst this fervor, certain remarks by political figures have sparked controversy, highlighting issues of gender sensitivity and political decorum. A notable incident involved BJP's Bengal Chief, Dilip Ghosh, whose comments about Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's attire during a rally in Purulia on March 23 have ignited widespread criticism and debate about the treatment of women in politics.


The Controversial Remarks and Their Implications

The Incident at Purulia

During an election rally,West Bengal Assembly Elections: A Spotlight on Political Discourse and Gender Sensitivity Articles Dilip Ghosh made remarks about Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's choice of clothing while she campaigned in a wheelchair due to an injury. Ghosh commented on the visibility of her leg through her sari, suggesting that she should wear Bermuda shorts for better visibility, a statement that many considered derogatory and sexist. This comment has not only drawn severe backlash from various political quarters but also from the public, who view it as an inappropriate focus on a female politician's attire rather than her policies or leadership abilities.

Political and Public Backlash

The Trinamool Congress (TMC), Mamata Banerjee's party, responded strongly, condemning Ghosh's remarks as disrespectful and indicative of a broader issue of gender disrespect within certain political circles. TMC MP Mahua Moitra expressed her disdain on social media, questioning the appropriateness of such comments from a senior political leader.

Broader Context: Gender Sensitivity in Indian Politics

Historical Perspective

Gender sensitivity in Indian politics has been a contentious issue, with female politicians often facing scrutiny over their appearance and personal lives, which their male counterparts rarely experience. According to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), only 9% of all candidates in the 2019 Indian General Elections were women, highlighting the gender disparity in political representation.

Current Scenario

The incident involving Dilip Ghosh is not isolated. Similar instances have occurred in the past, where female politicians were targeted for their clothing or personal choices, detracting from their political agendas and achievements. Such incidents underscore the need for a more respectful and inclusive political discourse, especially concerning women.

The Need for Change

Enhancing Gender Sensitivity

Political parties and leaders must prioritize gender sensitivity training and enforce strict codes of conduct to prevent such derogatory remarks. Promoting a culture of respect and equality in political discourse is essential for the healthy functioning of democracy.

Encouraging Female Participation in Politics

Increasing female participation in politics can also help change the narrative and focus on more substantial issues. Initiatives to support and encourage women to take up political roles are crucial in achieving this balance.


The remarks made by Dilip Ghosh during the West Bengal assembly elections serve as a reminder of the challenges that female politicians face, stemming from deeply ingrained gender biases. It is imperative for political parties and leaders to foster an environment where political discourse is free from gender bias and focuses on policies and leadership qualities. As the public and political entities react to such incidents, the hope is that Indian politics moves towards a more inclusive and respectful future.

For further reading on gender issues in Indian politics, visit The Wire and The Hindu.