NEW DELHI: The BJP on Friday slammed the Congress for its Karnataka MLA's comments on rape on the floor of the state assembly, and questioned its leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's silence over the issue, alleging that its leaders have a history of making such insulting comments about women.
The BJP was, however, also left embarrassed when its spokesperson Aparajita Sarangi also criticised Speaker Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri, who is from the ruling party, for not objecting to Congress MLA K R Ramesh Kumar's rape remarks.
"What is sad that the Speaker said nothing after such objectionable comments were made and even laughed," she said.
Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar and another BJP spokesperson Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, however, defended the Speaker.
Rathore said Kageri made no statement, and things should not be implied. Chandrasekhar accused Kumar of trivialising crime against women.
Sarangi, who was also at the dais with them for a party press conference, later clarified that she meant to refer to Kumar as he is also a former speaker.
Even as speaker he had made such remarks by equating himself with a rape victim for being dragged to court over various issues, she noted. She said Congress leaders have a history of making humiliating and shameful comments about women and referred to remarks made by the likes of former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.
Noting that the Gandhi siblings had rushed to Hathras, where a Dalit girl was allegedly raped and murdered, Sarangi questioned their silence over the issue.
BJP chief spokesperson said Kumar's comments were very painful and shameful and alleged that the Congress has a history of making such remarks against women.
Kumar, who had courted controversy by saying "when rape is inevitable, lie down and enjoy it", apologised for his remarks on Friday.
As the proceedings of the Assembly began, Kumar stood up and said he made a statement (in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday), which people found outrageous.
"However, my intention was never to demean the prestige of this House or behave in an inferior way. I will not defend myself. I tender my sincere apology for my utterance during the proceedings of the House if it has hurt people from any part of the country," Kumar said.
Similarly, Smriti Irani, Minister of Women and Child Development said, "The Congress should first suspend their leader before talking about women empowerment and raising slogans like "Ladki hoon, lad sakti hoon" in Uttar Pradesh."
Meanwhile, a Delhi-based NGO also filed a complaint against the MLA for the comments and requested to disqualify him.
(With inputs from ANI)