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BJP leaders seek ‘exemplary action’ against Azam Khan over sexist remark on MP Rama Devi

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded that Azam Khan must apologise failing to which he must be suspended from Lok Sabha.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded that “exemplary action” be initiated against Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan, who on Thursday directed an embarrassing remark at the presiding officer and BJP MP Rama Devi during the debate on the triple talaq bill.

During the debate in the Lok Sabha, Khan had said that “he wanted to keep looking into her eyes”, a remark which drew objections from the treasury benches, who demanded an apology from the Rampur MP.

Objecting to the remark, Rama Devi, the MP from Bihar’s Sheohar, chided him, saying that was not the way to speak and ordered the remarks be expunged.

In response, Azam Khan said: “You are much respected. You are like my sister.”

The uproar continued on Friday as the House began its business. Women MPs, Smriti Irani, TMC’s Mimi Chakraborty raised objections to Khan’s remarks calling them “disrespectful”. They were backed by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who asked the Speaker to take exemplary action against the SP leader.

BJP leader Smriti Irani said this was not just a problem of women but a “blot on all legislators including men”.

“This is not a House where men come in and ‘Kisi aurat ki aankhon mein jhanka jaye’,” Irani fumed.

“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,” she said adding that “one cannot misbehave with a woman and get away with it by just dramatizing it”.

TMC MP, Mimi Chakraborty seconded Smriti Irani saying, “Nobody can stand in the Parliament and tell a woman ‘look into my eyes and talk'”. She further said the women leaders in the House are expecting an appropriate action from the Speaker.

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said it was very encouraging to see everyone stand up and speak in once voice condemning the incident and asked the Lok Sabha Speaker to take action against Khan.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded that Azam Khan must apologise failing to which he must be suspended from Lok Sabha.

“To politicize an issue related to women is outrageous, we have to stand together. So why the hesitation in some? Why the dilemma? Why add riders? I am not naming anyone,” Sitharaman said while pointing towards Congress MPs.

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said that he will call a meeting of leaders of all parties and then take a decision on the issue.

Earlier in the day, Rama Devi said that Azam Khan has never respected women while referring to the incident involving Jaya Prada. She further said the SP leader has no right to stay in Lok Sabha, adding that she will request the Speaker to dismiss him. Rama Devi also demanded an apology from Azam Khan.

Meanwhile, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav had on Thursday defended his party MP saying that he had said nothing wrong.

After the uproar, Khan on Thursday walked out of the Lok Sabha and was joined by other SP members.