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    BJP divided on the issue of sexual harassment charges against M J Akbar

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    New Delhi, Oct 11: There is a sharp division in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the issue of charges leveled against minister of state for external affairs M J Akbar. Under the 'MeToo campaign' at least over half a dozen of women journalists have accused Akbar of making sexual advances towards them.

    M J Akbar

    However, neither the ministry nor party is making any comment on the issue but inside the party there is a sharp division concerning such issue of intriguing of character. The main opposition Congress is going to make this an issue once Akbar is back in India from Nigeria where he is on official visit.

    Also Read | Me Too: MJ Akbar asked to 'cut short Nigeria visit', likely to return today, say reports

    A well placed source in the BJP said that these are non issues and what is there comment on this.

    Actually, the party seems to be defending him and the government by saying that it has got nothing to do with it as he did not misuse the government office. It is the responsibility of the editor guild and many other media organisations to take a call on the issue not the BJP.

    On the other hand, Union minister for women and child welfare is talking about investigation on the matter and she has even written a letter to Union law and justice minister Ravi Shankar Prashad that clause of lodging complain within three years should be done away with. She is also taking up the matter at other forums that there should not be escape for anyone on such issues.

    There are many leader in the party too who wants action against such persons but due to party discipline, they are not ready to speak. Sources said that pressure within the party is being made but party is firm that Akbar is not guilty as a minister and he did not use government machinery. Akbar is likely to return India today late in the evening and only then any clarification is likely to come.

    Also Read | Me too movement: MoS MJ Akbar, accused of sexual harassment, must resign, says Congress

    A BJP leader on condition of anonymity said that in the election year defending Akbar might prove to be very costly and in a situation where the BJP was taking high moral grounds of women issues including Nikah-Halala such issue might backfire on the party. So the government instead of sacking him might indicate him to quite his own. The government that is already grappling with the issue like Rafale must not invite a fresh trouble for itself. The issue of M J Akbar may prove to be costly with opposition parties like Congress and many others demanding his resignation and planning to take this to public.

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