New Delhi: "The whole country will not forgive the politician who has abused me", said Dalit leader Mayawati today in Parliament, where several leaders rose in her defence after she was described as "worse than a prostitute" by Dayashankar Singh, a senior BJP leader in Uttar Pradesh, who was quickly demoted.
- Senior BJP leader in Uttar Pradesh says Mayawati "worse than prostitute"
- Finance Minister Arun Jaitley apologizes on BJP's behalf
- Unless he is punished, India will not forgive him, warns Mayawati
"Outside and even in Parliament, I am called behenji (sister) by most people," said Mayawati, "so the man who used this term for me, he has abused not me, but his sisters."
"If action is not taken against him by his party, there will be big protests across the country" she warned. Mr Singh's outrageously misogynistic remark accused Mayawati of demanding bribes from those who want to be selected as her party's candidates for the Uttar Pradesh election.
In the Rajya Sabha, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley expressed regret for his partyman 's remark and promised an immediate investigation. Less than two hours later, Mr Singh had been removed as Vice President of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.
As head of the regional Bahujan Samaj Party or BSP, Mayawati has earlier served four times as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. In 2011, she lost the state to Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party.
The controversy about Mayawati coincided with her attack on the government for failing to protect Dalits in Gujarat, where violence has erupted after four Dalit men were thrashed last week by cow protection vigilantes.
A video that has gone viral shows the four half-naked men tied to a car as the activists took turns to thrash them with belts and batons at a crowded marketplace.
Hundreds of people have been detained as authorities try to contain the unrest, which began on Monday and has since spread.