NEW DELHI: Azam Khan should be punished for his sexist comments in parliament, the ruling BJP said today as lawmakers across political lines criticised the remarks made yesterday by the Samajwadi Party leader during a debate.
“This is an abominable act, I appeal to you for exemplary action,” said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to Speaker Om Prakash Birla in the Lok Sabha.
Yesterday, during a debate on a bill to criminalise Triple Talaq or instant divorce, BJP lawmaker Rama Devi, officiating as Speaker, had asked Azam Khan to address the Chair while making his point.
The Samajwadi lawmaker had responded with out-of-line comments that were slammed as sexist and offensive and provoked shouts of “shame” from the government benches.
Later, he attempted to clarify, saying: “You are my sister, bahut pyari behen (very sweet sister). I have had a long political career, it is not possible for me to say anything bad. If there is a single unparliamentary word in what I said, then I declare my resignation from parliament.”
“This is a blot on all legislators including men. We cannot remain silent spectators to it. We have to speak in one voice that this is unacceptable,” said Union Minister Smriti Irani.
“This is not a House where men come in and ‘Kisi aurat ki aankhon mein jhanka jaye (look into the eyes of a woman),” she added, quoting Azam Khan.
Her colleague, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, said either Azam Khan should apologise or he should be suspended from the House. “The incident was painful. Rama Devi handled it with utmost dignity. We appeal for the toughest punishment, without compromise,” said Mr Prasad.
Condemnation came even from opposition benches. “Nobody can stand in Parliament and tell a woman – look into my eyes and talk. Speaker sir, all women here are expecting something big from you on this,” said Trinamool Congress lawmaker Mimi Chakraborty.