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.
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.