LS members for action against Azam over sexist remarks

Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani. PTI file photo

Cutting across party lines, Lok Sabha members on Friday demanded exemplary action against Samajwadi Party member Azam Khan who made certain sexist remarks against BJP member Rama Devi in the House.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Union Minister Smriti Irani said Khan's remarks targeted at Rama Devi during the discussion on triple talaq bill on Friday, were a “blot on all members, including men”.

“I appeal to all to speak in one voice- you cannot misbehave with a woman and get away with it by just dramatising it. We cannot remain mute spectators,” Irani said. Several members from the Treasury benches were on their feet supporting Irani.

Suggestions were also made by some members for suspension of Azam Khan from the Lok Sabha if he failed to tender a “clear-cut apology”. Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said the Speaker was empowered to take a decision on the issue.

After hearing out views from a cross-section of the House, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla said he would consult leaders of political parties before arriving at a decision.

Neither Khan, nor SP chief Akhilesh Yadav were present in the House.

“Nobody can stand in the Parliament and tell a woman 'look into my eyes and talk'. Speaker sir, all women here are expecting something big from you on this,” Trinamool member Mimi Chakraborty said.

Congress appeared to dither in taking a clear stand when its leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury his party was opposed to any disrespectful conduct against women but also recalled that UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi was called 'Italy ki Kathputli' in the Lok Sabha.

BJD member Bhartruhari Mahtab asked the Speaker to take action as per the rules, while Trinamool member Kalyan Banerjee condemned Khan's actions. “A person who does not know how to pay respects to a woman possibly does not know the culture of the country itself,” Banerjee said.

Having made his point, Chowdhury also backed the call for action against Khan. “You do what is right. The prestige of the Lok Sabha cannot be lowered,” the Congress leader said.

NCP member Supriya Sule, Apna Dal member Anupriya Patel, Union Ministers Babul Supriyo and Anurag Thakur also demanded action against Khan.

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