Senior Congress leader K Sudhakaran on Thursday apologised for making a sexist comment while criticising Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, PTI reported. Sudhakaran claimed he was misquoted and the speech was taken out of context.

The state Congress working president on Wednesday said that the party had expected Vijayan to run the administration effectively “but he turned out to be worse than a woman”. He made the remarks at the start of the United Democratic Front’s protest against the Left Democratic Front-led government’s “failure to rebuild the state” in the aftermath of the floods in the state last year.

“Like many, I too had believed that Pinarayi Vijayan would be one chief minister who would be a doer,” Sudhakaran had said in Kasaragod. “But looking back, he has proved to be the biggest disaster. Many, including me felt he would be one man who would bring about change, but he has been able to do nothing. Even a woman would have done better.”

Sudhakaran on Thursday said he respects women and that his speech should have been heard in totality, rather than in parts here and there. “It was not meant to hurt anyone. If anybody is hurt I am really sorry for it,” he said, according to the Hindustan Times.

Adivasi leader and activist CK Janu asked the Congress to explain Sudhakaran’s irresponsible statement. “It clearly exposes his chauvinistic attitude,” she said.

Sudhakaran has made controversial statements in the past as well. In November last year, he said that women of menstruating age would be prohibited from entering the Sabarimala temple, in defiance of the Supreme Court’s verdict. “No woman who actually believes in Lord Ayyappa will go to Sabarimala,” he had said in another instance. “Only the adventurous types who want to take a trek will go there.”