- Naresh Agrawal's comments forced BJP to issue a disclaimer on Monday
- Jaya Bachchan is Samajwadi Party's nominee for one Rajya Sabha seat
- Naresh Agrawal is known to make controversial comments
"If anyone was hurt by my comments, then I express regret," Naresh Agrawal told reporters today. Asked whether he was apologising, the politician shot back, "Do you understand the meaning of khed (regret)?"
Yesterday, Mr Agrawal had complained that he had been denied the chance to go to the Rajya Sabha because his former Samajwadi Party had picked Jaya Bachchan: "For somebody who used to dance in films, act in films, I was denied a ticket (for Rajya Sabha). I did not find it appropriate," he said, flanked by BJP leaders including minister Piyush Goyal.
Senior BJP leader and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted: "Naresh Agrawal has joined BJP. He is welcome. However, his comments regarding Jaya Bachhan ji are improper and unacceptable."
Re-tweeting the comment, Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani posted that "when a woman's honour is challenged we stand as one in our condemnation irrespective of our politics."
Mr Agrawal was also lacerated by his former boss Akhilesh Yadav, with who he was very close once. "We condemn Naresh Agrawal. This is not just an insult to actors but also Indian women," the Samajwadi Party chief said.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra had distanced his party from Mr Agrawal's remarks, saying it respects people from all fields and welcomed them in politics.
Mr Agrawal, who has also had a stint in the Congress, is not new to controversy. Last year, he was criticized by the BJP over his remarks in the Rajya Sabha mocking Hindu gods.
His term as Rajya Sabha member ends on April 2.