Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Tuesday termed the “item” comment made by senior colleague Kamal Nath on a BJP leader in Madhya Pradesh as “unfortunate”, adding he personally did not appreciate the language used.
Speaking to reporters, Gandhi said, “Kamal Nath ji is from my party but personally, I don’t like the type of language that he used…I don’t appreciate it…regardless of who he is. It is unfortunate.”
“I think that our treatment of women, at all level, needs to be improved…whether it is about law and order, general respect or how much space they are accorded in business, in govt and other places. Our women are our pride and they should be protected,” he added.
Reacting to Gandhi’s remarks, Nath said he had already clarified the context in which he made the statement. “It is Rahul Gandhi`s opinion. I have already clarified the context in which I made that statement… Why should I apologise when I did not intend to insult anyone? If anyone felt insulted, I have already expressed regret,” ANI quoted the former MP CM as saying.
#WATCH वो राहुल जी की राय है। मैं क्यों माफी मांगूगा, मैंने कल कह दिया कि मेरा लक्ष्य किसी को अपमानित करने का नहीं था और अगर कोई अपमानित अहसास करता है तो मुझे खेद है: राहुल गांधी के कमलनाथ के इमरती देवी को लेकर दिए बयान को दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण बताने पर कमलनाथ pic.twitter.com/MzUQntvIA9
— ANI_HindiNews (@AHindinews) October 20, 2020
Kamal Nath on Sunday had triggered a furore after he referred to BJP minister Imarti Devi as an “item” during a poll meeting.
Addressing a gathering in Dabra in support of Congress candidate Suresh Raja, Nath had hailed him as a “simple man” unlike his opponent(Imarti Devi) who is an “item.” “Why should I take the name (of the opposing candidate)? You all know that person better than me. What an item,” he had said.
Responding to Gandhi’s statement, Nath said that he had already clarified the context of his statement. “It is Rahul Gandhi’s opinion. I have already clarified the context in which I made that statement… Why should I apologise when I did not intend to insult anyone? If anyone felt insulted, I have already expressed regret,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh also responded to Gandhi’s statement. He said, “If Rahul Gandhi accepts that Kamal Nath has made a mistake then what will be his punishment.” He also raised questions over Nath’s appointment as president of Congress committee.
Earlier today, clarifying his stand on the remarks made, Nath said that word he used had “multiple interpretations” and accused Chouhan of politicising the issue to gain mileage ahead of state bypolls.
The former chief minister’s reaction came after Chouhan wrote a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi over his remarks against Devi, a dalit leader.
In a letter to Chouhan, Nath said that he has written nothing but lies in his letter to Sonia Gandhi. “I did not make any disrespectful statement in my address in Dabra yet you served all the lies,” he said. Nath also claimed that the state has become the most unsafe state for women under Chouhan’s rein and has ranked number one in crimes against women in the last 15 years.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has also sought an explanation from Nath over his remarks. The NCW has also forwarded the matter to the Election Commission for necessary action.
In a separate incident, a BJP minister in Madhya Pradesh is also facing flak for allegedly using a derogatory term for the wife of a Congress candidate. In a video that went viral on Monday, minister Bisahulal Singh, who is contesting the November 3 Assembly bypoll from Anuppur, was purportedly heard describing the second wife of Congress candidate Vishwanath Singh Kunjam as “mistress”.