MP: Kamal Nath issues clarification after 'item' remark sparks controversy
Madhya Pradesh Indian National Congress (INC) chief Kamal Nath on Monday sought to clarify his controversial remarks against state Minister for Women and Child Development (WCD) Imarti Devi. Nath had earlier referred to Devi as an "item," a derogatory term for women. He now claims he was only reading names from a list that mentioned them as "item number one, item number two."
Nath called Devi 'item' during poll meeting in Dabra
On Sunday, Nath addressed a poll meeting in Gwalior's Dabra, where the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Devi as a candidate. Nath said the INC candidate Suresh Raja was a "simple person," unlike Devi, not referring to her by name. "Our candidate is not like her—what's her name? Well, you know her better. You should've warned me about her earlier. What an item!"
You can watch the clip here
#WATCH: Our candidate is not like her... what's her name? (people shout Imarti Devi, who is former State Minister) You know her better and should have warned me earlier... ye kya item hai: Former Madhya Pradesh CM Congress leader Kamal Nath pic.twitter.com/eW76f2z8gU— ANI (@ANI) October 18, 2020
MP CM staged silent protest against Nath
Amid campaigning for the bypolls to 28 Assembly seats in MP, the BJP reacted strongly to the remark. MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan held a "silent protest" in Bhopal, while BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia held a protest in Indore. The BJP lodged a complaint with the Election Commission. It said the remark was an "insult" to women leaders and the Scheduled Caste community.
I couldn't remember the name, says Nath
After the backlash, Nath said on Monday, "The other day, I had said something but not with the intention of insulting anyone. I couldn't remember their name." Showing a piece of paper from a dais at a political rally in Khandwa, he added, "The list says item number one, item number two...Is this an insult? Shivraj Singh is looking for an excuse."
Don't think Gandhi family will take action: Union Minister
Meanwhile, Union Minister for WCD Smriti Irani said on Monday, "I can't find any justification for Nath to use such a derogatory word against a woman politician. I can't understand why the Gandhis choose to be silent." "I don't think Gandhi family will take action," Irani said, "Be it Nath or Digvijaya Singh, these are the people who keep the fire burning in Gandhi family's kitchen."
Women's body approaches Chief Election Commissioner over controversy
The National Commission for Women also took cognizance of Nath's "derogatory" remarks. The NCW said in a statement, "The words used in the video are highly defamatory and show disrespect toward the dignity of a woman." NCW chief Rekha Sharma has written to the Chief Election Commissioner, urging necessary action in the matter. Sharma also sought an explanation from Nath on the remark.