The Election Commission has sought a factual report from authorities in Jharkhand about Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s “rape in India” comment made at a rally last week, PTI reported. Assembly elections are currently underway in the state.

Union minister Smriti Irani had approached the poll body on Friday, claiming that this was the first time that a political leader had used rape for “political mockery”. The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders had said that the Congress leader has inflicted irreparable hurt on the status of women in India.” Irani had claimed that the election panel has promised to look into the matter.

Action against Gandhi would be decided after the report.

Addressing a rally in Jharkhand’s Godda district on December 12, Gandhi had said: “Narendra Modi had said ‘Make in India’ but nowadays wherever you look, it is ‘Rape in India’. In Uttar Pradesh, Narendra Modi’s MLA raped a woman, then she met with an accident but Narendra Modi did not utter a word.”

Gandhi’s comment had created an uproar in Parliament on the last day of the Winter Session. Besides Irani, BJP leaders such as Rajnath Singh and Locket Chatterjee had criticised Gandhi and sought an apology.

However, Gandhi had told reporters outside Parliament that he would not apologise for the comment and instead had accused the government of targeting him deliberately to deflect attention from the massive protests in North East against amendments to the Citizenship Act. On Saturday, at a “Bharat Bachao [save the country]” rally, he reiterated this and had declared that his name was not “Rahul Savarkar”. “I will never apologise for truth,” he had said. “I will die but not apologise and neither will any Congress leader apologise.”

Also read:

No, Rahul Gandhi did not say ‘women should be raped’, as minister Smriti Irani claimed in Parliament