Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Kanimozhi on Thursday apologised for a functionary’s derogatory comments about women leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Kanimozhi was responding to a tweet by BJP leader Khushbu Sundar, who had asked if this was the “new Dravidian model” under Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin’s rule.

DMK functionary Saidai Sadiq had called Khushbu Sundar and other actor-turned-BJP politicians such as Gayathri Raghuraman, Namitha and Gautami “items”, India Today reported. He also made sexualised statements or innuendo about Sundar while talking about the time when she was a member of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.

“When men abuse women, it just shows what kind of upbringing they have had and the toxic environment they were brought up in,” Sundar said in response on Thursday. “These men insult the womb of a woman. Such men call themselves followers of Kalaignar.”

Kanimozhi, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam women’s wing secretary, apologised to Khushbu Sundar “as a woman and human being”. The MP added that she is able to “openly apologise” for Sadiq’s remarks because Stalin and her party do not condone this action.

“This can never be tolerated irrespective of whoever did it, of the space it was said or party they adhere to,” she wrote on Twitter.

On October 9, Stalin had said that disparaging comments by some ministers and party leaders were giving him “sleepless nights” and compared himself to a “drum beaten on both sides”, The Hindu reported.

A few days earlier, the Tamil Nadu chief minister advised party functionaries to be careful about their words.

“Spend every minute of yours in a dignified manner,” he had said. “The words we use are very important. A word may win and another word will kill. Not just on public platforms but also at private conversations. Your speech could be distorted and all our time will be wasted in clarifying our position.”