YSRCP’s RK Roja had accused TDP MLA Bode Prasad and others of being involved in the “call money” racket.

Andhra politics hits new low as TDP MLA goes on misogynistic rant against RojaImage: Facebook
news Politics Sunday, July 15, 2018 - 17:05

TDP MLA Bode Prasad's remarks on his YSRCP counterpart RK Roja have triggered a massive political row in Andhra Pradesh, with many saying that the language used by the Penamaluru legislator from the ruling party was misogynistic.   

Speaking in his constituency earlier this week, Bode lashed out at Roja, who is a legislator from Nagari, in an attempt to rebut her accusations against him.

Bode pulled out a newspaper clipping which had reported Roja's accusations against him and other TDP leaders, and said, “Is she a woman? My stomach has been burning for three-and-a-half years. Every time she refers to me as 'Bode Prasad - sex racket - call money'. I'm telling this in presence of reporters and members of our constituency. Based on her behaviour, our people will believe, if I say that she is a prostitute (vyabichari).”

Shockingly, the crowd can be seen clapping as soon as he says this.   

Prasad then continues alleging, “Or else, they will even believe if I say she is running a brothel. She accused me of being involved in a sex racket, but did she call me while running a brothel herself?"

The ‘call money’ racket came to light in 2015 when some victims sought the help of Vijayawada Police Commissioner, alleging that they were being sexually exploited by money lenders. 

It was referred to as ‘call money’ because people could get a loan after making a phone call to a lender. However, the loan came with an exorbitant interest rate of interest between 60% and 200%. Houses, vehicles and other valuable items were taken as collateral. 

Reports in the local media suggested that along with the alleged sexual exploitation of the women when they failed to repay the loan, many accused also forced the women into sex work. 

Venigalla Srinivas, who is among one of the accused, was said to be closely associated with Bode Prasad.

Roja has maintained that several TDP leaders were aware of the racket and has also repeatedly named Bode Prasad as one of them.

Responding to the allegations, Prasad continued his tirade and said, "I'm speaking today with fire in my stomach as a person who came from a family of culture and tradition. Did I ever lend money to anyone? In fact, I have taken loan from others….you will talk like this only if you are someone who eats grass and garbage."

He also went on to compare Roja with Andhra IT Minister and the son of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, Nara Lokesh.

"I'm challenging you as well. You are not even equal to a nail on Nara Lokesh's feet…these many days, we have all excused you as you are a woman. If you come to my constituency this time, we will welcome you with chappals and eggs and we will see your end," Prasad said.

The misogynistic rant has sparked outrage in YSRCP, which sought police action against Bode Prasad. As the YSRCP leaders complained, they alleged that the Penamaluru police refused to register an FIR against the TDP MLA stating that they will register only after obtaining permission from higher officials.

Meanwhile, Bode Prasad stood his ground and justified his comments when he was invited for a debate on a local Telugu channel, saying that he will continue to hit out at anyone, if they speak "whatever comes to their tongue."

When quizzed about breaking decorum while speaking about a woman leader, he said, “For three-and-a-half years, she has been falsely accusing me of being involved in a sex racket. Should I keep her on my head and worship her?"

"Why was she criticising me? What will my family members think of me? If I don't respond, what will people think of me, even after she is making such statements in my own constituency,” Prasad said. 

When asked if he stood his comments, he said, "100% I'm standing by my statements. She harassed me mentally for three-and-a-half years. I will take criticism if it comes from cultured people," he added.

He also said "Not just women, men should also be given respect. If anyone makes such comments and utters whatever comes to their tongue, they will also face the same plight as her (Roja).”

Responding to the row, YSRCP MLA Roja lambasted the state government while speaking to reporters in Hyderabad on Sunday.

"Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and his government have destroyed the police system and dumped the constitution, knowing that he will be imprisoned for 5 years for outraging a women modesty. They're trying to protect him by managing the police," Roja said at the party’s Lotus Pond headquarters. 

She alleged that the accused in crimes against women were let off freely in several cases and appealed to the courts to take up such cases suo moto, in order to deliver justice.

The YSRCP legal cell is also planning to move court in this regard.

 

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