PV Abdul Wahab, a Rajya Sabha MP and leader of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), retracted comments he made on Thursday in the Rajya Sabha, suggesting Muslim women were rallying behind the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) due to the party’s law criminalising ‘triple talaq’, the practice of instant divorce. On Friday, Wahab insisted his comments were made in jest and had been misconstrued.
Wahab, a consistent critic of the BJP, stated that his claim of Muslim women backing the BJP following the triple talaq ban was merely sarcastic. He was quoted as saying, “I think I was terribly misquoted by the media.”
“I request you (BJP), as the current central power, to view Muslims as more than just a minority. We represent a sizeable portion here (in the House). Post triple talaq, all Muslim women are with you (BJP), and after the bill (was passed), all Muslims are with you. I witnessed women arriving by bus today, although I’m unsure who brought them, they are scattered across New Delhi. It’s an impressive display of female power,” Wahab, nominated by the IUML for a third Rajya Sabha term in 2021, reportedly said during a Rajya Sabha discussion on the women’s reservation bill.
However, on Friday he clarified that his words were not meant to commend the BJP, but were delivered sarcastically. He affirmed to reporters that anyone who heard him would understand he was ridiculing the BJP. Wahab stated, “Whatever one says, BJP leaders always respond that they liberated Muslim women by banning triple talaq. My remarks are being deliberately twisted as part of some agenda. Why would a Muslim League MP openly say that Muslim women are with BJP?”
In the previous year, the IUML issued a notice to Wahab following comments he made in the Rajya Sabha that appeared to praise central BJP ministers. He later clarified that his remarks had been misinterpreted.