As far as the political class in India is concerned, the voters operate with one rule in mind - Keep expectations low. However, even by such generous standards, Kerala Poonjar MLA PC George has time and again proved to be a reprehensible lout.
From allegedly sending human excreta to the chairperson of the Kerala Women's Commission to indulging in victim blaming every time a high-profile rape case hits the headlines, PC George has no limits. And he gets away with it every single time.
The latest instance is when PC George, the only Independent MLA in the Kerala State Assembly, called the nun who has accused a Jalandhar-based bishop of raping her, a "prostitute". The MLA is on record at a press meet, saying, "No one has doubt that the nun is a prostitute. Why didn't she complain the first time?"
The nun, who is already under tremendous pressure, was planning to address the press for the first time on Sunday. However, following PC George's brutal comments, she backed out. Another nun told TNM that the survivor had locked herself up and cried for hours after PC George verbally attacked her.
Nobody who has followed Kerala politics will be surprised by PC George's statements. A long-time member of the Kerala Congress, the MLA was the party's whip between 2011 and 2015, when the UDF was in power. The political clout that he has is apparent in how he has consistently behaved badly, even breaking the law by naming victims of sexual assault and indulging in character assassination.
When a prominent woman actor was abducted and sexually assaulted in February last year, PC George jumped in to say that she must be lying because she'd gone to work the very next day (a claim the survivor never made). PC George questioned how the survivor could have done so if she'd been raped more violently than Nirbhaya. He also revealed her identity. The survivor objected and wrote to the Kerala CM about PC George's despicable comments. The Kerala Women's Commission and the Speaker served PC George notices, but clearly, the MLA is far from mending his ways.
The extreme misogyny that PC George harbours is something we're expected to accept as part of his personality. His abusive language is well-documented.
A few months ago, he asked a trans woman, Shyama, state project officer of the Kerala State Transgender Cell, why she was "dressed up like a woman" when she was a man, outside the Assembly. He has called a highly respected leader like KR Gowri Amma, who is well into her nineties, names like 'slut'. He has come on TV channels and hurled expletives at Saritha Nair, an accused in the Solar scam.
He has even abused the survivor in the shocking Suryanelli case, where a minor was trafficked and raped by several prominent men. PC George held a press meet defending congressman PJ Kurien, whose name figured in the scandal, saying that survivor didn't know how many people she'd "slept with" and that she could not therefore be depended upon to identify Kurien.
Recently, the MLA was seen in CCTV footage, threatening staff at a toll plaza with a gun, for asking him to pay the required charges.
Several reporters who have covered PC George and the Poonjar constituency for years now, say that the MLA likes to jump into controversies for the limelight - for instance, when he went after the woman actor and defended the accused, actor Dileep. People also say that the accused in high-profile cases might be using PC George's reputation to influence public perception, by persuading him to make such comments. However, in the case of the nun, it's his association with the church which has prompted him to attack the survivor, they say. In most of these press meets, PC George portrays himself as the man who is valiantly standing for the truth, even if it might be an "unpopular" stance.
Whatever may be PC George's reasons, it's shameful that neither the Congress nor the Left in the state is able to take him on. When in the Congress, the MLA was critical of KM Mani, the party leader, as he belonged to the Joseph faction. However, he quit the Joseph group and affiliated himself with the LDF. He then merged his group with KM Mani's. But after he was removed from the party, he contested as an Independent and won by a margin of over 25,000 votes.
PC George is known for expressing his views openly but his exhibition of misogyny and penchant for breaking the law are nothing to be proud of. Clearly hungry to remain in the news, his controversial statements always manage to dominate the headlines. It is high time that the law caught up with the MLA and he faced the consequences for his actions.
We've had enough of 'boys will be boys' and there's no reason to keep extending the rope for the MLA with the 'PC George will be PC George' excuse.