Samajwadi Party MP Azam Khan made sexist remarks about Bharatiya Janata Party MP Rama Devi in the Lok Sabha on Thursday when she was chairing proceedings in the absence of Speaker Om Birla. The remarks, made during a debate on the triple talaq bill, were followed by strong protests from the members.
When Rama Devi asked Khan to look at her while speaking, the Rampur MP said: “Aap mujhe itni achchi lagti hain ki mera mann karta hai ki aap ki aankhon mein aankhein dale rahoon [I like you so much that I wish to look into your eyes and keep looking at you].”
Devi responded: “This is not the way to speak, please expunge these remarks.”
To this, Khan claimed he respected Devi and said she was like a sister to him. The remarks were expunged from the House records.
Birla returned to the chair soon after and rebuked Khan for his language. He said the dignity of the Speaker’s chair must be maintained. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad demanded an apology from Khan, and said he had not heard such a remark in Parliament in 19 years, that too against a woman member.
Samajwadi Party MP Akhilesh Yadav defended Khan’s remarks, and said they were not said with wrong intent. Yadav claimed the BJP members were the most “badtameez [ill-mannered]”, to which Birla expressed further displeasure and said it was an unparliamentary word.
Khan said: “I have had a long political career, it’s impossible that I will say something that will hurt someone. If I said anything unparliamentary, I declare my resignation now.”
He tried to resume his arguments on the triple talaq bill, but was unable to speak amid the uproar. He walked out of the House, saying there was no use speaking amid such insult to him.
Later, members of both the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party walked out of the proceedings, PTI reported.
Khan has made other misogynistic remarks in the past, including one about his opponent in the elections, Jaya Prada. Akhilesh Yadav had defended Azam Khan then too. Khan’s son had also made sexist remarks about Jaya Prada ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.