Madhya Pradesh Congress MLA Jitu Patwari on Wednesday said that the Bharatiya Janata Party had given birth to five “daughters” – demonetisation, goods and services tax, inflation, unemployment and recession – to get a “son” called development, PTI reported. His tweet, which has now been deleted, compared the failures of the Narendra Modi government to daughters forced upon the country.

Patwari, an MLA from the Rau constituency, took a swipe at the saffron party, saying that development has not been born yet. After a controversy on social media, he said: “As far as daughters are concerned, they are divine. I am still saying that the entire country is waiting for development.”

In another tweet, he expressed regret and claimed that he had only meant to target the BJP over “its weaknesses” and unfulfilled promises. “Modiji broke the back of the country’s economy with demonetisation, GST, inflation, unemployment and recession,” Patwari wrote. “The public endured all this only in the hope of development. I regret if any sentiments have been hurt.”

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra tagged the National Commission for Women and asked them to take action against Patwari. “Please take note of this highly misogynistic tweet of an elected representative which projects daughters as unwanted and in most regressive manner,” Patra said.

The commission took cognisance of Patwari’s comments. NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma has sought an explanation from him at the earliest.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights said the tweet demonstrated the Congress leader’s mindset and approach towards the girl child. “That as a political leader, it is unethical for you to violate the deepest constraints of morality to take any political digs at anyone else and to achieve greater goods and avoid disasters for the society at large,” the NCPCR said in a letter to Patwari. “That audacious act of passing such a disparaging statement through your tweet not only belittles the very existence of the girl child but further takes us decades back, making all the incalculable struggle and sacrifice for achieving gender equality and rights of girl children in vain.”

However, Patwari asked people to focus on the intention and meaning of his remarks, ANI reported. “I only intend to urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to work for the development of the country,” he added.