Women panchayat members in Kashmir protested against Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s remark that the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was bribing them with make-up kits ahead of the legislative council elections.
Abdullah made the remarks couple of days before while campaigning in his home constituency of Ganderbal.
“It is you (PDP) who are serving Wazwan dishes everywhere, handing out money in envelopes and distributing bags to women panchayat members. These bags contain scissors, nail-cutters and other make-up accessories. On one hand you are observing purdah and on the other giving our women make-up sets to beautify themselves. If you want to give them anything, give pen and paper. Do you think panchayat members are so mean to sell their conscience for a petty thing like make-up kit,” Abdullah had said.
On Saturday, women panchayat members backed by the PDP took to the streets in Ganderbal to protest. Some said they were ready to resign if Abdullah could prove his allegations.
The PDP has offered to withdraw its candidates from the elections if the allegations are proved.
“Omar Abdullah’s reference to women being bribed with make-up kits and his attempt to cast aspersions on our sisters and mothers’ integrity shows the National Conference intends to discourage women of the state from being empowered,” PDP spokesman said.