MeToo, the movement, has largely been limited to film and media industries and some believed it would pass the political class. Not really. On the day Congress sacked a former NSUI president who faced sexual harassment charges, another Congress leader, a senior one in fact, came under the #MeToo spotlight. A journalist wrote about being sexually harassed by the leader who was a minister in the United Progressive Alliance government.
Sonal Kellogg, a reporter then, has not named the minister from the UPA-1 era but has opened up about what woman journalists have to go through as they go about their work.
Ahmedabad-based Kellogg moved to Delhi in 2006 after her employer — The Asian Age — ceased publication in Gujarat.
There she was given the charge of covering one of the Union ministries, one headed by a leader who was the “media’s favourite” and who studied at New Delhi’s prestigious St Stephen’s College before going to England for his masters.
Kellog, describes how her encounters with the minister — who she says was very “touchy-feely” — involved him greeting her with a kiss.
“He would greet me each time with a kiss, which I thought was a Delhi thing – in Gujarat, where I come from, politicians don’t greet women journalists with hugs and kisses,” Kellog writes. “But he would hold my face and try to kiss me on the mouth.”
ellog further writes that this was not the only way the minister misbehaved with her. In 2014, Kellog met the minister at his MP’s bungalow in New Delhi.
While she was there and talking to him, Kellog says, the minister got up to go to the washroom. On the way to the washroom, the minister “stretched his hand and suddenly pressed one of my breasts.”
A taken-aback Kellog then sharply told the minister: “Don’t touch me.” To this, the minister nonchalantly replied: “Why?”
Kellog says she never met the minister after the incident and that her previous experiences of reporting such behaviour stopped her from talking publicly about the minister’s behaviour.
However, she was forced to re-think her silence when the #MeToo storm swept most of the Indian social media, taking no prisoners.