A Bharatiya Janata Party legislator in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday said Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati lacks self-respect and compared her to a eunuch, ANI reported.

Addressing a public rally in Chandauli, Mughalsarai MLA Sadhana Singh claimed that Mayawati was “a blot on womankind”.

“She has no sense of self-respect, she was almost molested earlier and yet, in history, when Draupadi was molested, she took a vow for revenge... but this woman, she lost everything, but still sold her dignity for the sake of power,” Singh said, in an apparent reference to the BSP’s alliance with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh. “We strongly condemn Mayawati ji. A woman who gulped down insults for comfort and power is a blot on womankind.”

Singh said that Mayawati collaborated with those responsible for abusing her dignity in the first place, referring to an incident in 1995 when the BSP chief was allegedly locked inside a guest house in Lucknow by Samajwadi Party workers and assaulted after she pulled out of an alliance.

“After the day a woman’s attire is torn, she does not come forward to form the government,” Singh said. “The entire country thinks of her as a blot. She is worse than a eunuch, because she is neither a man nor a woman.”

The National Commission for Women has taken suo motu cognisance of the remarks and will send Singh a notice on Monday.

Singh later said she had not meant to insult Mayawati but just wanted to remind her of the 1995 incident, when the BJP had helped her after she was humiliated. A BJP leader had escorted Mayawati out of the guesthouse after her assault in 1995, and the BSP had formed an alliance with the party later.

Singh said, “I apologise to anyone who was hurt by my words.”

Reacting to Singh’s comments, BSP MLA Satish Chandra Mishra described her as “mentally ill” and claimed that the alliance had rattled the BJP. A BSP leader also filed a police complaint against Singh, ANI reported.

“The language used by BJP leader Sadhana Singh against our party president Mayawati shows the level of the BJP,” Mishra said. “The level of language shows their mental illness.”

Mishra claimed that the BJP had “lost its mental balance” in fear of losing the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh. “This shows that the BJP is disappointed and frustrated with the SP-BSP alliance,” he added. “They have no strength to win even a single seat in Uttar Pradesh.”

Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi also condemned Singh’s comments. “One may have differences in issues and ideas but it is disturbing: that this lady represents the ruling party in UP-BJP (not surprising),” Chaturvedi said. She added that it was also disturbing “to hear a lady speak in such a derogatory way about another lady” and to “see people in the audience cheering such words”.

Union minister Ramdas Athawale called the remarks disrespectful and said his party, the Republican Party of India, disagrees with them. “She is a strong lady of our Dalit community and a good administrator,” he told ANI. “I would have definitely taken action if it was someone from our party.”