Senior leaders continue to shoot their mouths off in the House and then eat their words.
A day after senior BJP leader LK Advani was forced to apologise in the Lok Sabha for his remarks about the government, it was the turn of home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to retract comments about actor-turned-MP Jaya Bachchan in the Rajya Sabha.
Replying to a debate on Assam, Shinde said the recent violence in the state was a serious issue and not a subject of a film. It led to an uproar in the House, with MPs cutting across party lines, led by leader of the opposition Arun Jaitley, objecting to it.
As home minister, Shinde, who took over from P Chidambaram on July 31, has not had the best of the debuts in Parliament.
In his very first speech — on Assam violence on Wednesday — while referring to Bodoland Territorial Area District, he said terrorist in place of territorial.
"If untoward situation arises, the government will not dare to take action so that nothing happens," was the next gem from the minister.
Thursday's gaffe came during his reply to the debate on the situation in Assam. Bachchan interrupted him, saying he had not responded to specific queries raised by members.
"This is a serious matter. It is not a subject of a film," Shinde shot back, triggering a storm in the House.
Bachchan took offence to the comment and other members joined her in demanding an apology from the minster, whose last day as the power minister saw India face arguably the world's worst outage.
"She is a distinguished celebrity and a member of the House and as the home minister, you cannot make a taunt on her in this House. I will urge you to make amends and withdraw comments so that the House can proceed," Jaitley said.
Shinde was reluctance to apologise. His plea: Bachchan interrupted him. But the stern stance of Tariq Anwar, who was presiding the House at that moment, left him with no choice.
When Jaitley sought his intervention, Anwar directed that Shinde's remarks be deleted if he wouldn't withdraw them.
Sensing the mood of the House, Shinde said, "If she is hurt by my comments, I apologise for that. She is my sister. I know the entire Bachchan family for which I have great respect."