A top Congress leader in Kerala has provoked condemnation for an appallingly sexist comment targeting Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. K Sudhakaran, a former parliamentarian and now working president of the Congress in Kerala, said the chief minister's performance was "worse than a woman's" - a comment that looked especially bad on a day the party announced Priyanka Gandhi's entry into politics in a big role.
"When workers of the CPM eulogised Pinarayi Vijayan as a man with two hearts, we also thought that after becoming chief minister, he might do something like a man. But he not just failed to act like a man, he has performed worse than a woman," Mr Sudhakaran said at a public meeting of party workers at Kasaragod on Wednesday.
Skewered for the comment, Mr Sudhakaran apologised today and claimed he had been misquoted. He insisted that he respects women, and that his speech was taken out of context. The evidence is on camera, however.
Mr Sudhakaran, 70, is one of the three working presidents of the Congress in Kerala. He was on the frontlines of his party's protests against a Supreme Court order ending a ban on women below 50, or of menstrual age, entering the Sabarimala temple.
He had said at a press conference that menstruating women are "impure" and should not be allowed around Sabarimala's celibate god Lord Ayyappa.
Mr Sudhakaran has been a Lok Sabha lawmaker from Kannur.