Lok Sabha on Friday, July 26, witnessed a massive uproar with members demanding 'exemplary action' against Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan for his alleged sexist remark against BJP parliamentarian Rama Devi. Moving a motion in the House, BJP leader Sanghmitra Maurya requested Speaker Om Birla to punish the SP MP to set an example for others.
Lawmakers across political lines criticised Azam Khan's remark made during the debate on the government's bill to ban instant triple talaq.
Reacting to the controversy, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, "This is an abominable act, I appeal to you for exemplary action."
Meanwhile, Om Birla said that he will hold a meeting with leaders of all parties and then make a decision. Today's motion was seconded by BJD leader Bhartuhari Mahtab and other members in the Lok Sabha.
Seeking immediate suspension of Azam Khan from the Lok Sabha, Union Minister Smriti Irani said, "This is a blot on all legislators including men. We cannot remain silent spectators to it. We have to speak in one voice that this is unacceptable." "This is not a House where men come in and 'Kisi aurat ki aankhon mein jhanka jaye (look into the eyes of a woman)," Irani added.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said either Azam Khan should apologise or he should be suspended from the Lok Sabha. Prasad said that the incident was painful. "Rama Devi handled it with utmost dignity. We appeal for the toughest punishment, without compromise," he said in the House.
Also, first-time Lok Sabha MP Mimi Chakraborty condemned the incident. "Nobody can stand in Parliament and tell a woman - look into my eyes and talk. Speaker sir, all women here are expecting something big from you on this," said the Trinamool Congress lawmaker.
Earlier on Thursday, the SP leader courted controversy for his sexist jibes against Rama Devi. He, however, attempted to clarify, saying, "You are my sister, bahut pyari behen (very sweet sister). I have had a long political career, it is not possible for me to say anything bad. If there is a single unparliamentary word in what I said, then I declare my resignation from parliament."