Kamal Nath Won’t Apologise For ‘Item’ Remark Even After RG Comment

The NCW has sought an explanation from Kamal Nath and has forwarded the matter to the EC for necessary action.

4 min read
Congress leader Kamal Nath.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, addressing a press conference on Tuesday, 20 October, said that the type of language Kamal Nath used in his now-infamous remark about BJP leader Imarti Devi was “unfortunate”.

“Kamal Nath ji is from my party, but personally, I don't like the type of language that he used. I don't appreciate it, regardless of who he is. It is unfortunate,” reported ANI when asked about Nath’s 'item' remark.

Speaking to the media later in the day, Nath refused to apologise for the comment, saying he had already clarified the context. “Why should I apologise when I did not intend to insult anyone? If anyone felt insulted, I have already expressed regret,” the former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said.

Earlier on Monday, 19 October, National Commission for Women (NCW) condemned the remark, referring to it as ‘irresponsible and disparaging'. Further, the commission has sought an explanation from Kamal Nath and has forwarded the matter to the Election Commission for necessary action.

“NCW strongly condemns the irresponsible and disparaging statement made by Kamal Nath, LoP in Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly. NCW has sought an explanation from him on remarks made by him. Commission has also forwarded the matter to Election Commission for taking action.”

Questioning Kamal Nath’s explanation over the remark, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma said: “It's very demeaning and later, he (Kamal Nath) said that he was reading from a list, I want to ask him, in the same list where was he standing? Which item he was?” reported ANI.

Soon after NCW’s complaint to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) over Kamal Nath’s remark – the Election Commission of India (ECI) sought a detailed report from Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), reported ANI.

Shivraj Chouhan & Kamal Nath Exchange Letters

Nath has gone on the front foot over the allegations, and had on Monday slammed Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan for writing to Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi over his ‘item’ remark.

Nath in a letter written to Chouhan stated that “it would have been better if he had written to BJP president over derogatory remarks made by ministers of his own party.” He also said that Chouhan in his letter to Sonia Gandhi had presented lie in an exaggerated manner.

Chouhan replied to the letter by saying that Nath “should tender an honest apology.”

Kamal Nath’s ‘Explanation’

Meanwhile, explaining his ‘item’ remark about BJP’s Imarti Devi, former MP Chief Minister Kamal Nath said that his remark wasn’t meant to insult anyone.

“I said something, it wasn't to insult anyone... I just didn't remember the (person's) name...this list says item no.1, item no.2, is this an insult? Shivraj Singh Chouhan is looking for excuses, Kamal Nath doesn't insult anyone, he'll only expose you with truth,” said Kamal Nath.

Kamal Nath on Sunday, 19 October, allegedly targeted Cabinet Minister Imarti Devi during a campaign rally in Gwalior’s Dabra constituency.

Without mentioning Imarti Devi’s name, the former MP Chief Minister said: “Our candidates are straightforward in nature, not like her, what is her name (the crowd replied ‘Imarti Devi’)... why should I even take her name? What an item!”

On Monday, CM Chouhan observed a two-hour silent protest under the statue of Mahatma Gandhi over Nath’s remarks. CM Chouhan was accompanied by BJP leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, among others.

Imarti Devi, who was earlier in the Congress, is now a Cabinet Minister in the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Madhya Pradesh government. She is contesting on the BJP ticket from Dabra.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan Writes to Sonia Gandhi

Meanwhile, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan has written to Congress President Sonia Gandhi over the remark, demanding the removal of Kamal Nath from all party posts and has asked the Congress chief to strongly condemn the statement, reported ANI on Monday.

“If you fail to react, I’ll be compelled to believe that you support it,” the statement read.

Chouhan stated that he had expected a clarification, but that the statement was being shamelessly justified.

ANI quoted Chouhan as saying: “You can abuse me, call me names, but such a comment about a woman is against every daughter and mother. Women have been disrespected during Navratri. He (Kamal Nath) crossed limits of shamelessness.”

Earlier, the CM had slammed Nath for the unsavoury comment and said, as quoted by ANI: “It's an insult to not only Imarti Devi but also to MP's daughters and sisters. Kamal Nath is using objectionable words for a daughter who served Congress for so long. It's a country where Mahabharat took place when Draupadi was disrespected. People won't tolerate. Shame on him.”

Chouhan further stated that Kamal Nath used derogatory words for a woman who struggled as a labourer to reach the rank of a minister.

No Justification: Smriti Irani

Union Minister Smriti Irani, too, expressed her disdain for Kamal Nath’s remarks, and attacked the Gandhi family in the process, as well.

“I can't find any justification that Kamal Nath ji can give for using such derogatory word against a woman political leader. I can't understand why Gandhi family chooses to be absolutely silent,” Smriti Irani said, according to ANI.

“I don’t think Gandhi family will take action against Kamal Nath for making such a derogatory statement against a lady. Be it Kamal Nath or Digvijaya Singh, these are the people who keep fire burning in Gandhi family’s kitchen.”
Smriti Irani, according to ANI

More Details

The BJP has also lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against the former chief minister for his comments, ANI reported.

Meanwhile, BJP's Madhya Pradesh unit President Vishnu Dutt Sharma said: “On the second day of Navratri, Kamal Nath has insulted the women power by calling a woman an item. The people of the state will respond to it,” IANS reported.

By-elections are scheduled to be held in 28 seats in Madhya Pradesh on 3 November.

(With inputs from ANI and IANS)

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