- Dayashankar Singh, BJP's UP Vice President, sacked then expelled
- Had compared BSP leader Mayawati to a prostitute, FIR registered
- Singh, who accused her of selling election tickets, later apologised
Acting quickly to stem a snowballing controversy in a crucial state, the BJP today sacked and then expelled a top Uttar Pradesh leader, Dayashankar Singh, over his outrageous comments on camera comparing rival political leader Mayawati to a prostitute.
A police case or FIR was also filed against Mr Singh by members of Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party.
The BJP removed Mr Singh as a vice president in Uttar Pradesh soon after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley expressed 'personal regret' in Parliament, telling Mayawati: "It is not right and I condemn the use of this word and if a person has said this, we will investigate. I express personal regret. I associate with your dignity and stand with you."
In comments that are too offensive to be reproduced verbatim, Mr Singh said on Tuesday: "Mayawati is selling tickets (to contest polls)...She is a three-time chief minister but she gives tickets to anyone who gives her Rs 1 crore. If someone comes with 2 crores in the afternoon, she gives him a ticket. If somebody comes with 3 crores in the evening, she dumps the previous candidates and picks him. Today her character is worse than that of a prostitute."
Lacerated by critics, he apologized and said: "I can't even think of Mayawatiji that way. She has come up after a lot of struggle."
But it was not enough to save his job, or spare him expulsion, at a time when Opposition parties have been ranged against the ruling party on the thrashing and humiliation of four Dalit men in Gujarat for skinning a dead cow.
Mr Singh was one of the 15 BJP vice presidents in Uttar Pradesh, where campaigning for elections next year has picked up both pace and aggression and where the BJP hopes to take forward its massive gains in the 2014 national election.
Other opposition parties rallied behind her, condemning Mr Singh in one voice, forcing the BJP to make quick amends.
"The comments show the BJP's mindset," said Congress member Kumari Selja.
"This is not only a women's issue. This is a man's issue. The problem is with men making these statements," said Trinamool's Derek O'Brien.
Mayawati was among the opposition leaders who raised the incident forcefully in Parliament and accused the government of ignoring atrocities against Dalits.