Samajwadi party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav on Wednesday drew flak from political parties and women's groups for his 'sexist' remark that if the Women's Reservation Bill is passed it will fill Parliament with the kind of women who invite catcalls and whistles.
The controversial comment by Mulayam were described as insulting and offensive to women while his former close lieutenant and expelled SP leader Amar Singh demanded 'appropriate action' by the National Commission for Women(NCW) against the former Uttar Pradesh chief minister.
"It is a sexist, Talibani and a cheap remark, which hurts womanhood. I hope that NCW will take cognizance of the statement and take appropriate action," Amar said.
In a strong reaction, CPI(M) slammed Mulayam for resorting to a "low level" of debate because his logic to oppose the women's reservation bill holds no ground. The Bill envisages reservation of one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and state Assemblies for women.
"If there is a logic to his opposition to the bill, he can express. But precisely because there is no logic to his opposition, he is resorting to such a low level of political debate which is offensive to women," senior party leader Brinda Karat said here.
"The comment about men whistling or cat-calling at women who are in politics also trivialises what is actually a harassment offence," she said.
Addressing SP workers at a function to mark Ram Manohar Lohia's birth centenary in Lucknow yesterday, Yadav had said "I don't like to say this, but they (those elected due to women's quota) would be the women like wives and daughters of officers and businessmen, the kind who get whistled at".
Expressing "shock and pain" at the comment, NCW Chairperson Girija Vyas said, "if these are the kind of words used by a senior leader then what will others say".
"I was not expecting this from a leader of Mulayam Singh's stature," she said.
Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh said the remark was "extremely unfortunate", "If he (Mulayam) had such feelings he should not have fielded his daughter-in-law as a candidate." Dimple Yadav unsuccessfully contested a Lok Sabha by-election in Uttar Pradesh last year.
"Such statements are not expected from a senior leader," Singh said.
Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said "when you become senior in politics you should choose your words carefully".
He said if you cannot do anything for women at least do not make fun of them.
Jayaprada, who was recently expelled by by the Samajwadi party, said Mulayam's remark had hurt the sentiments of women.
The Government ignored Mulayam's remark with Law Minister Veerapa Moily saying a "similar argument" was put forward when 73rd and 74th Constitution amendment bill providing reservation for women in Panchayat Raj institutions was enacted. PTI