Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
The uproar in Lok Sabha continued on Friday over Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan's 'sexist' remark on BJP MP Rama Devi proceeding the house at that time. Azam Khan courted a controversy, leading to angry reactions from Rama Devi and other members present in the House.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “It is very encouraging to see everyone stand up and speak in once voice condemning what happened yesterday. We look towards you (LS Speaker) for an exemplary action against him.”
“To politicize an issue related to women is outrageous, we have to stand together so why the hesitation in some? Why the dilemma? I am not naming anyone for people (pointing towards Congress MPs) to interrupt my speech,” she said.
Khan, however had defended his statement on Rama Devi, saying "You are very respected, you are like my sister". Coming out in his support, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav said, "I don't think Azam Khan ji meant any disrespect to the chair (Rama Devi). These (BJP MPs) people are so rude, who are they to raise fingers?"
BJP MP Smriti Irani said, “Let us not reduce this to a problem of just women. This is a blot on all legislators including men. This is not a House where men come in and gaze women in their eyes.”
“The entire nation watched yesterday what happened. This House passed the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Bill. I appeal to all to speak in one voice- You cannot misbehave with a woman and get away with it by just dramatizing it,” she said.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in Lok Sabha said, “Azam Khan should apologize or else he should be suspended from Lok Sabha, this is our demand.”
Refusing to apologise, Azam Khan had said he was ready to tender his resignation if he has said anything that is unparliamentary. He later walked out of the Lok Sabha.
Khan, who has developed a status of being controversy's favourite child over the years, time and again raked up political storms with his weaponry of words. In the run up to the Lok Sabha polls, the SP leader was facing criticism for his "khaki underwear" jibe at BJP leader Jaya Prada in one of his election speeches. The Election Commission of India, miffed over his inflammatory remarks at several places in Uttar Pradesh, barred him from campaigning for 72 hours and served him a show cause notice.