Amid a political row over former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath referring to a woman minister as an “item”, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader from the state on Monday stirred another controversy by allegedly calling the wife of his Congress opponent in the bye-election a “mistress”, PTI reported.

Bye-polls for 28 Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh will be held on November 3. The results will be declared on November 10.

In a widely circulated video, BJP leader Bisahulal Singh, who is contesting the bye-elections from Anuppur, purportedly described Congress candidate Vishwanath Singh Kunjam’s wife as a “rakhail”, or mistress.

“Why Vishwanath Singh is hiding information about his first wife and mentioned his Rakhail in the nomination papers,” Singh asks in the video. “He has not given information about his first wife, but about his mistress.”

Kunjam said he will file a defamation lawsuit against the Bharatiya Janata Party leader for his derogatory comments. “I got married 15 years back and have a 14-year-old daughter,” the Congress leader said. “I will file a defamation suit against him. This exposes the BJP candidate’s character. On one hand they are staging drama of silent fast and on the other hand they disrespect women.”

Saffron party leaders in Madhya Pradesh led by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday said they would sit on a silent fast for two days to protest against Kamal Nath, who referred to BJP candidate for the Dabra bye-polls, Imarti Devi, as an “item” during an election rally.

Chouhan had said that Nath’s remarks had revealed the “feudal mindset” of the Congress leadership. A party delegation had met Election Commission officials in Bhopal on Monday to complain against Nath for “insulting women and Dalits”.

Taking cognisance of the matter, the Election Commission has sought a “detailed report” from the chief electoral officer of Madhya Pradesh on Nath’s remarks.

Nath, however, claimed he did not mean to insult Devi and referred to her as he did because he forget her name. “I said something, it wasn’t to insult anyone,” Nath said. “I just didn’t remember the [Devi’s] name.” The senior Congress leader then showed a list of poll candidates and said: “This list says item number 1, item number 2. Is this an insult?”

Imarti Devi was one of the 22 MLAs who resigned in March, toppling the Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh. She eventually joined the BJP and was given the Cabinet minister for Women and Child Development.