MUMBAI: BJP workers, including the women members today staged a protest outside the residence of Congress leader Gurudas Kamat over his alleged offensive remarks against HRD Minister Smriti Irani.
Kamat, however, claimed that he had not made any derogatory comments and only raised the question of Irani's "educational inability" considering the plum post she has been given in the government.
Shouting slogans, the party workers staged a protest in suburban Chembur where former Union Minister Kamat resides and demanded an immediate written apology.
"We challenge Kamat that if he had the guts to pass derogatory remarks against women, then he should have guts to face the consequences too. But he did not have courage to face our protest," said Shalaka Salvi, head of BJP's women wing of the city.
"Until Kamat does not tender an unconditional apology for his derogatory comments, we would protest wherever he (Kamat) holds meetings," she said.
BJP Mumbai unit's vice president Mohit Kamboj alleged that Kamat is making such remarks to keep himself in the limelight as he has been sidelined by the current Mumbai Congress chief, Sanjay Nirupam.
"Kamat is desperate to come into the picture and this is why he has targeted Iraniji to get media attention," Kamboj claimed.
Reacting over the row, Kamat told PTI, "I have always been respectful towards women. What I said has been quoted by Irani herself that she worked with 'McDonalds'."
"My statement was carried in a distorted version by some sections of the media," he said.
"I was asking question to PM (Narendra) Modi on why he has given such an important portfolio to Irani, when she herself has landed in certificate controversy, what is wrong in it?" the leader asked.
Speaking in Rajasthan last week, Kamat had referred to Irani as a "poncha lagane waali" (cleaning woman) while questioning the minister's credentials to hold the charge of the education portfolio.
Yesterday, the National Commission for Women had asked the Congress leader to explain within a week his alleged offensive remarks against Irani that have invited criticism.
However, Kamat said, "As of now I have not received any notice so far and will see when I get it."