TDP MP J.C.Diwakar Reddy added his remarks to the ongoing controversy regarding ‘casting couch’ in politics. He made the sensational comment that ‘casting couch’ or expectation of sexual favours for benefits was a reality in politics. Reddy’s comments come after Congress Rajya Sabha MP Renuka Chowdhury’s statement that the casting couch exists ‘everywhere’ in the country, and not even the Parliament is exempt from it. Diwakar Reddy corroborated Chowdhury’s comments, saying that casting couch existed in politics just like it did in other industries. However, he said he was not aware of this being a problem at the Parliamentary level, as Chowdhury alleged.
Presently, the film industry is reeling under the allegations of casting couch made by actresses such as Sri Reddy, who began the ongoing campaign against sexual exploitation in Tollywood. Any attempts to play down the practice, such as veteran choreographer Saroj Khan saying that it was ‘age-old’ and that the film industry provides employment, and does not ‘rape and abandon’, have come in for flak. Actress Sri Reddy went so far as to claim that she had lost respect for the award-winning choreographer, who seemed to indicate that women in the industry must be ‘slaves to producers’. While the film industry’s image has taken a definite beating, the issue has revealed the extent of exploitation that women face. Added to this, these recent statements by senior and powerful politicians such as Diwakar Reddy and Renuka Chowdhury further reveal the deep-rooted and widespread nature of the problem, not just in films but in all walks of society. Meanwhile, rising instances of sexual violence in the country, especially the brutality of the Kathua, Unnav and Surat rape cases, have put women’s rights into forefront.
In addition to his statement on the casting couch, J.C. Diwakar Reddy also commented upon politics and governance in Andhra Pradesh, saying that he would not attest that state’s administration was the best, but that he would definitely say that no one could govern the state better than Nara Chandrababu Naidu. He said that he had told the Chief Minister that Andhra Pradesh had not been given anything by the Centre, as far as three and a half years back, but Chandrababu had continued with the BJP for four years as he was a wise man. J.C. Diwakar Reddy also predicted that the Congress party would dominate in the upcoming Karnataka Legislative Assembly elections.
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