Sharad Yadav unapologetic over 'saanvli' remark, says ready for a debate

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 17, 2015 00:10 IST

Under fire for his alleged sexist remarks, Janata Dal (U) leader Sharad Yadav Monday refused to withdraw his comments and even clashed with HRD minister Smriti Irani in the Rajya Sabha.

Yadav, whose remarks on women's complexion and body during the last week's debate on the insurance bill caused furore in and outside the House, remained defiant, saying he was misinterpreted and was ready for a debate.

Tempers ran high as Irani repeatedly requested him not to speak about the colour of a woman's skin. At one point, Yadav even ticked off the human resource development minster, saying "Who are you?"

"Sit down. I listened to your appeal and I reject it. Women alone have not taken up the responsibility of women," Yadav told Irani.

The ruckus in the Upper House followed after telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asked the JD (U) leader to withdraw the remarks.

"I completely disassociate myself and I completely disapprove of the comment. We, all of us, must respect women, their dignity, and I will appeal to Sharad Yadav to kindly withdraw the comment," Prasad said.

When the JD (U) leader tried to put his point forward, Irani joined the free for all. "I appeal to the honourable gentleman not to make comments about the colour of any woman's skin... you are a very senior member of the House. There is a very wrong message going to the rest of the country," she said.

Yadav stood his ground and invoked Mahatma Gandhi and socialist icon Ram Manohar Lohia, saying he had the records wherein women's skin colour had been discussed. "What have I said ... saanvli (dusky) women are more in number in India, they are more in number the world over," he said.

As Irani-Yadav sparred and other MPs joined in, deputy chairman PJ Kurien said, "I'm not allowing any discussion ... white or dark colour, it is all the same". But the ruling did little to calm the members.

(With IANS and PTI inputs)

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