Denied Rajya Sabha ticket by the Samajwadi Party, senior leader Naresh Agarwal joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday. Upset at SP favoring Jaya Bachchan over him for the Rajya Sabha nomination, Agarwal took a jibe at the actor-turned politician saying his old party had equated him with the somebody “who used to dance in films”.
While addressing the media at the BJP headquarters, in New Delhi, the seven-time MLA from Hardoi constituency said, “I have been compared with those who dance and work in films,” in an apparent attack at the Bollywood actor. Agrawal’s term as Rajya Sabha member is ending on April 2.
His remark, however, did no go down well with the leaders of his new party. Senior leader Sushma Swaraj welcomed Agarwal on board but said his comment is not acceptable.
Shri Naresh Agarwal has joined Bhartiya Janata Party. He is welcome. However, his comments regarding Jaya Bachhan ji are improper and unacceptable.
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) March 12, 2018
This is perhaps not for the first time that Agarwal has talked his way into a controversy. From linking the names of Hindu gods with alcohol to suggesting that former Indian Naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav was a terrorist, he has always triggered row with his irresponsible statements.
Here are some of Agarwal’s controversial remarks made in the past
Lynching debate: A massive uproar broke out in the Rajya Sabha last year when the SP MP linked the names of Hindu gods with alcohol. He narrated an incident in 1991 when he visited a school that was turned into a jail. He said the names of some Hindu deities linked to some types of alcohol were written on the wall of the school. Pointing towards the treasury bench, Agrawal said these lines were written by “your people”.
BJP members, including ministers, demanded an apology from the SP member, shouting that they won’t let anyone “insult Hindu Gods.” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar said Agrawal has hurt the sentiments of the majority population of the country.
Triple Talaq: Naresh Agarwal drew flak for calling Muslim women demanding strict law against Triple Talaq as non-Muslims and BJP supporters. The Muslim women who were present at the Rajya Sabha gallery to watch the Triple Talaq debate were termed BJP supporters by Agarwal.
Kulbhushan Jadhav: Agarwal created a political storm last year by equating former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is in Pakistan jail in alleged spying case, with a terrorist. “If Pakistan has declared Kulbhushan Jadhav as a terrorist in their country, then they will treat him like one. In our country also, we should treat terrorists in the similar manner. Terrorists have to be dealt strictly,” Agarwal had said. He also went on to question the media, saying why it was only Jadhav who was being given so much attention when there were so many other Indians who are languishing in Pakistani jails.
Shakti Mills gang-rape: Agarwal sparked a controversy over the brutal Mumbai gang-rape in 2013 after he said that women needed to pay attention to their clothes to avoid getting raped. Agarwal also said that women should not be too influenced by television. “I just said that laws cannot stop everything, even society will have to come forward. Despite the laws in the country, why aren’t cases of murder, loot and rape stopping in the country?” he later clarified.
“The films are showing such scenes which a father and a son cannot watch together. The country should think whether we are ready to accept western culture or not. We should also discuss the drawbacks of western culture,” he added.
Tehelka case: Referring to the Tehelka sex scandal and Tarun Tejpal case, Agarwal said that companies are now scared of hiring women. He added that women’s revealing clothes were responsible for rape incidents to a great extent. “Women should dress more appropriately so that they don’t draw unwanted attention,” he said.
“The media talks only about sexual harassment but the flip side to this is that many organisations are now scared of hiring women employees,” he added.
Sexist remarks: In 2013, the political leader landed himself in trouble when he used a derogatory term for women while taking a dig at BJP’s then prime ministerial candidate and former Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Agarwal said, “In my village, there is a saying that if you ask a **** for blessings, she will ask you to become like her. Similarly, the BJP is asking everyone to become like them.” National Commission of Women (NCW) sent a notice to the then SP leader to explain his indecent remark about women.