‘Item’ remark row: Did not insult anyone, claims Kamal Nath; BJP holds silent protest

NEW DELHI: Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, who is under all-round attack for his "item" remark against state minister Imarti Devi, on Monday claimed that he had not said anything to insult anyone. The Congress leader's clarification comes amid widespread criticism and protests by top BJP leaders of the state, who sat on a two-hour silent fast today.
"I said something, it wasn't to insult anyone. I just didn't remember the (person's) name, this list (in his hand) says item no.1, item no.2, is this an insult? Shivraj is looking for excuses, Kamal Nath doesn't insult anyone, he'll only expose you with truth," the senior Congress leader said in a bid to clarify his remarks that have kicked up a storm.
Addressing a poll meeting on Sunday in Gwalior's Dabra town, where the BJP has fielded Imarti Devi, Kamal Nath had said the Congress candidate was a "simple person" unlike the opponent who was an "item".
Imarti Devi and 21 other MLAs loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia had resigned from the Congress and the state assembly and joined the BJP in March, bringing down the Kamal Nath government in the process.
Madhya Pradesh BJP leaders, including chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, party MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar and others, sat on a two-hour silent fast across the state to protest against Kamal Nath's remark.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women has sought an explanation from the Congress leader for his "item" jibe.
The NCW has also forwarded the matter to the Election Commission for necessary action.
"The Commission strongly condemns this irresponsible and disparaging statement made by the leader. The words used in the video are highly defamatory and shows disrespect towards the dignity of a woman," the NCW said in a statement.
"At a time when we want more women to enter politics, such disrespectful remarks against a woman leader, that too from a person holding such a responsible position is very unfortunate," it noted.
Kamal Nath's remark also triggered a war of words between the Congress and the BJP.
Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh called the BJP protest a "nautanki" (drama).
"I don't know in what context Kamal Nath Ji's said the word. I also don't know the requirement behind the 'natak' 'nautanki' BJP is doing today. No one from Madhya Pradesh's BJP said anything on the Hathras incident," Singh said.
Union minister Smriti Irani slammed the former chief minister and said, "I can't find any justification that Kamal Nath ji can give for using such derogatory word against a woman Read More – Source

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