- BJP's Rama Devi was offended at Azam Khan's comments to her
- She asked him to "expunge" his remarks
- Mr Khan was asked to apologise even as Akhilesh Yadav defended him
Azam Khan, the Samajwadi Party lawmaker notorious for running his mouth, on Thursday struck parliament with a sexist comment directed at the Chair during a debate on the government's bill to ban instant triple talaq. The Lok Sabha erupted with demands for Azam Khan's apology even as Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav defended him.
BJP parliamentarian Rama Devi, the officiating Speaker, was offended at Azam Khan's comments to her. Next to him, Akhilesh Yadav, who has been away for most of the session, grinned but said nothing.
Rama Devi said: "This is not the way to speak to a woman. Expunge your remarks."
Attempting to clarify, Azam Khan said: "You are my sister, bahut pyari behen (very sweet sister). I have had a long political career, it is not possible for me to say anything bad. If there is a single unparliamentary word in what I said, then I declare my resignation from parliament."
Akhilesh Yadav, who stood up to defend his party lawmaker, faced cries of "shame" from the ruling party. "I don't think Azam Khan meant any disrespect to the chair," he said, and then hit out at the BJP for heckling him. "They are badtameez (insolent) These people are so ill-behaved and they point fingers at us?"
Speaker Om Prakash Birla, who was presiding at the time, told Akhilesh Yadav it was he who needed to apologise for using an unparliamentary word.
"It is very easy for all of you to demand 'expunge this, expunge that', but why should the need to expunge arise at all? Once a remark is made, it is already in the public domain. Therefore, we all should speak keeping the dignity of Parliament in mind," said the Speaker.
Union minister Smriti Irani said Mr Khan's "embarrassing remarks are a reflection of his character." She added that Akhilesh Yadav, who defended Azam Khan, "proved that his thinking is no different."
As Azam Khan rose to speak on the "Triple Talaq" bill, the cries of "shame" became louder. All the Samajwadi members in the house then walked out in protest.
Azam Khan is prone to making misogynistic remarks. While campaigning for the national election, he had made several offensive barbs at his former colleague-turned-BJP candidate Jaya Prada and had even been punished by the Election Commission.