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Naresh Agrawal regrets Jaya Bachchan comment but blames media

Referring to actor Jaya Bachchan, Naresh Agrawal, who left the Samajwadi Party for the BJP, said he was bypassed for a Rajya Sabha ticket from the SP for someone who used to “dance and act in films”

india Updated: Mar 13, 2018 23:07 IST
New Delhi
Naresh Agrawal,Jaya Bachchan,Naresh Agarwal
Senior Samajwadi Party leader and Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Agarwal is welcomed by Union minister Piyush Goyal as he joins BJP at party headquarters in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)

Facing a backlash for his sexist comments against actor-politician Jaya Bachchan, Rajya Sabha member and newly minted BJP leader Naresh Agrawal on Tuesday regretted his remarks but said his words were twisted by the media.

Agrawal walked out of the Samajwadi Party and joined the BJP on Monday after he lost out to Bachchan in the race for re-nomination to the Upper House. At a press conference to announce his induction in the BJP, Agrawal said he was bypassed for the Rajya Sabha for someone who used to “dance and act in films”.

“My intention was not to hurt anybody’s sentiments. I regret if my comment has hurt somebody’s feelings and withdraw my words,” Agarwal said, adding media had twisted his comments.

His comments invited strong criticism from several BJP leaders, including external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, who said the comments were “improper and unacceptable”.

Her ministerial colleague, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, too, came down hard on Agrawal. “The statement he has given is very shameful. It needs to be condemned,” the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader told media in the Parliament House complex on Tuesday.

One of the oldest BJP ally, the SAD is part of the ruling National Democratic Alliance.

“It is sad. If elected representatives will talk like that then what is the difference between them and roadside Romeos? Even men dance and sing in movies then why are such things said only for women?” she said, expressing hope that Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu would take note of the remarks.

Talking to mediapersons on Monday, Agrawal said he walked out of the SP because he was compared to “those working in films... I was rejected for those who dance in films, work in films”.

Congress’s Renuka Chowdhury slammed the comments but also wondered, “What he thinks doesn’t matter, the question is what is the BJP doing?”

“Jaya ji is an achiever. Even before marrying Amitabh Bachchan she was famous as Jaya Bhaduri. Saari party ghumte hain(Naresh Agrawal), fayda dekh ke dusri party mein kood padte hain, ye mard ki pehchan hai (He has been with all parties, he is an opportunist ... is this the sign of a man)? ”

Not just women politicians, the 66-year-old’s former party leader demanded action against Agrawal.

“I condemned the derogatory statement by BJP leader Naresh Agrawal on Jaya Bachchan... If the BJP respects women then it should take immediate action against him. The women’s commission should also take note of this,” Akhilesh Yadav tweeted on Tuesday.

First Published: Mar 13, 2018 14:28 IST