Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath on Monday tried to explain his "item" jibe for former party colleague Imarti Devi, as his arch-rival and successor Shivraj Chauhan held a fast in protest and wrote to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Mr Nath said, "is looking for excuses". "Kamal Nath doesn't insult anyone, he'll only expose you with truth," the former Chief Minister said.
"I said something, it wasn't to insult anyone," Mr Nath said. "I just didn't remember the (person's) name... this list (in his hand) says item no.1, item no.2. Is this an insult?" he said.
Mr Nath had stepped into controversy on Sunday while campaigning for the party candidate in Dabra, where the BJP is being represented by Imarti Devi.
The Congress candidate Suresh Raje, Mr Nath said, was a "simple person" unlike his opponent who is an "item".
"Why should I take the name (of the opposing candidate)? You all know that person better than me. What an item," Mr Nath said as the crowd chanted the name of Imarti Devi.
The BJP candidate, who had quit the Congress in March along with the loyalists, hit back, saying it was not her fault that she was a Dalit who came from a poor family.
"I want to appeal to Sonia Gandhi, who is also a mother, not to keep such people in her party. Will she tolerate it if anybody said something like this about her daughter? If such words will be used for women then how can any woman move forward?" she told news agency ANI.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan immediately picked up on the issue, saying the comment displayed the "feudal mindset" of the Congress.
On Monday, Mr Chouhan, state home minister Narottam Mishra, Jyotiraditya Scindia and other party leaders sat on a silent fast. In a letter to Sonia Gandhi, Mr Chouhan has also demanded Kamal Nath's immediate removal from all party posts.