Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath landed himself in a controversy, after he in a sexist remark called a former woman colleague as an ‘item.’
In a video circulating on social media, Nath, while addressing a campaign meeting in Dabra for the bypolls, is seen remarking that the candidate fielded by the Congress for the bypolls is a “simple person” as opposed to the “item” that BJP candidate Imarti Devi is.
Imarti Devi was among the 22 MLAs loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia who resigned from the Congress, leading to the fall of the Kamal Nath government.
“Our candidate is not like her… what’s her name? (people shout Imarti Devi on his cue). You know her better and should have warned me earlier…ye kya item hai (what an item she is),” he told a gathering.
Imarti Devi, a Dalit who belongs to the farmers’ community retaliated by asking what was her fault to have elicited such crass remarks.
“What is my fault if I was born in a poor family? What is my fault if I belong to Dalits? I want to appeal to Sonia Gandhi, who is also a mother, to not keep such people in her party. If such worlds will be used for women then how can any woman move forward,” ANI quoted her as saying.
Condemning the remark, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said by calling a woman, who has risen from humble beginnings an item, Nath has shown his “feudal mindset.”
Chouhan said he will sit on a silent protest from 10 am to 12 pm on Monday, to show his solidarity with Imarti Devi.
BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia drew a parallel between Nath’s comments with similar misogynist remarks made by Congress leaders in the past.
“This is Congress’s principle. First, Digvijay Singh had said something about Congress leader Meenakshi Natrajan which I don’t remember, now Kamal Nath called BJP’s Imarti Devi an ‘item’ while Ajay Singh called her ‘Jalebi’. Congress never respect women,” he said mediapersons on Monday.
On Sunday, a BJP delegation met Election Commission officials in Bhopal to lodge a complaint against Nath for “insulting women and Dalits”.