BJP MP Smriti Irani has complained to the Election Commission over Congress MP Rahul Gandhi's "Rape in India" remark that he made during a rally in Jharkhand on Thursday. "Rahul Gandhi dared to make rapes a political tool. We have requested Election Commission to take action," Ms Irani said today, hours after a massive protest by BJP leaders in parliament against the Congress MP's remark.
"For the first time a political leader has used rape for political mockery. Politicians who use rape as a political weapon need to be reprimanded with the heaviest punishment. He says all men are rapists. Are the people not enraged? He says women should be raped in India. We say Make in India, he says Rape in India. I want to ask the people, is this okay? I leave this over to people to decide his punishment," Ms Irani told reporters.
Earlier in the day, the Lok Sabha adjourned repeatedly amid unrelenting protests and cries of "shame" from the government benches.
Rahul Gandhi, who was not allowed by the Speaker to respond, told reporters outside: "I won't apologise... Let me clarify what I said. I said the PM keeps talking about 'Make In India'. So when one opens the newspaper one hoped that one would see news about it, but what do we see when we open the papers? We see so many cases of rapes."
He accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP of trying to divert focus from the protests in the northeast over the Citizenship Act.
In parliament, BJP MPs raised slogans against Mr Gandhi as Ms Irani continued her attacks on the Congress MP. "Not all men are rapists. This is an insult to India... Rahul Gandhi is touching 50, and doesn't realise that such a statement seems like an invitation to rape in India," said Smriti Irani.
"People who make such remarks have no moral right to be member of this house," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said.
DMK's Kanimozhi, however, defended Rahul Gandhi questioning the government over rising crime against women. "We respect the PM's Make in India initiative. We want economy to grow. But what is happening in the country? That is what Rahul Gandhi intended to say. Unfortunately, Make in India is not happening and women in the country are being raped. This is a concern," Kanimozhi said.