“Dear Male Boss” is Union Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar, who was founding editor of The Telegraph and has been associated with the Times of India and the Deccan Chronicle and founded Asian Age. MJ stories of sexual escapades are lore in the media space. They have always been there and it’s not as if “We will get you all one day” is breaking news.

But MJ is now a minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet and that places him in a unique spot. Along with the Modi government. Will PM Modi now sack him when owners of media-houses never had the gumption to do so? The Congress is already calling for MJ”s resignation, forget the fact that MJ was a Congress leader before he jumped ship and joined the BJP.

Let’s not beat around the bush, #MeTooIndia is now a political weapon to settle scores and when @Priyaramani says “We will get you all one day”, she means “all” not “few” or “you”. Cornered on a staircase by a clutch of female TV journalists, EAM Sushma Swaraj and MJ’s boss, chose to be the Egyptian Mummy, which in any case she has been since the time Modi took over as PM.

At the journalist level, #MeToo has already claimed a couple of scalps. Prashant Jha, political editor of the Hindustan Times, has stepped down from his post till an office investigation is over, and KR Sreeniwas, Hyderabad resident editor, Times of India, has been placed under administrative leave till further notice. The second guy named is a “serial offender” with seven cases of sexual misconduct attributed to him.

MJ has three women journalists on his tail, so far. Currently in Nigeria, MJ can vamoose, just go AWOL, but that will put EAM Sushma Swaraj in a fix and that will be another instance of MJ harassing women, a #MeToo moment. @Priyaramani says while in Akbar’s hotel room to be interviewed for a job, MJ “traced an ice cube down her arm” while leering at her.

“Turns out you were as talented a predator as you were a writer. It was more date less interview. You offered me a drink from the minibar (I refused, you drank Vodka), we sat on (sic) a small table for two that overlooked the Queen’s necklace (how romantic!) and you sang me old Hindi songs after inquiring after my musical preferences. You thought you were irresistible,” @Priyaramani wrote in her MJ expose.

For fairness’s sake, let’s also point it out that @Priyaramani also wrote, “I began this piece with my MJ Akbar story. Never named him because he didn’t “do” anything. Lots of women have worse stories about this predator —maybe they will share.” She also wrote, “I escaped that night, you hired me. I worked for you for many months even though I swore I would never be in a room alone with you again.”

MJ Akbar has found support from fellow BJP MP Udit Raj whose contention is that women are no less predators than men and they too ought to be called out; men alone shouldn’t be held to the cross. Raj doubts whether the truth will ever come out. “One needs to realize the damage caused to persons facing such false accusations. This (#MeToo) is the beginning of a new trend.”

Replying to Udit Raj and his misogyny, Congress spokesperson Shobha Ozha shot back, “Will Udit Raj say the same if the woman was his relative? Be it Kathua or Unnao, BJP leaders are involved in such crimes. Here MJ Akbar does not accept his mistake but gets support from another BJP leader.”

There it is, the political fight spurred, ignited by #MeToo. Wait till MJ returns from Nigeria, there is very little in terms of corroboration to nail him except that talk such as this has been in the media milieu since the day he started interviewing aspiring women journalists in his hotel rooms. @Priyaramani while throwing the challenge “We will get you all one day” will have to tell the long story in court to actualize that boast. And those others she banks on should also step up to the plate. (IPA Service)