Sharad Yadav said his comment on Rajasthan leader Vasundhara Raje was meant as a "joke"
Bihar politician Sharad Yadav has clarified a comment he made on Vasundhara Raje that was seen as body-shaming of the Rajasthan chief minister. Mr Yadav made the outrageous comment on Thursday while campaigning in Rajasthan, where voting for 200 seats is underway today.
"Vasundhra ko aaram do, bahut thak gayi hain (let Vasundhara relax, she is tired)," Mr Yadav, a former union minister, remarked, making a comment on her weight.
The BJP has complained to the Election Commission against Mr Yadav.
Later on Thursday, he sought to downplay his comment as only a "joke" and not meant to hurt the Rajasthan chief minister. "I said it as a joke. I've old relations with her. It wasn't derogatory in any way. I had no intentions of hurting her. When I met her, I told her then also that you're gaining weight," Mr Yadav, 73, told news agency ANI.
The Rajasthan chief minister slammed the Bihar politician for his derogatory comment. "I am extremely shocked," Ms Raje said after casting her vote at a "pink polling booth" at Jhalawar. "It is very important that Election Commission takes notice of the remark. I feel insulted. Women are insulted," she said.
Mr Yadav, who quit Bihar's ruling Janata Dal United over differences with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar last year, is a repeat offender on sexist comments.
Last year, he made a strange connection between the "honour of a vote and a daughter's honour". "The integrity of a vote is bigger than the integrity of a daughter. If a daughter loses honour, the village loses its honour. But if a vote is sold, the nation will lose its honour," he had said.
In 2015 in parliament, Mr Yadav, while participating in a discussion, went off on a tangent and started describing the beauty of "saanvli (dusky)" South Indian women.
Voting is underway in Rajasthan for a new 200-member assembly. Mr Yadav was campaigning for candidates of his Loktantrik Janata Dal.
Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje is counting on her government's programmes to pull in votes that will propel her to power for another term. The Congress is looking to cash in on anti-incumbency in the northern state.
With inputs from ANI
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