While sending across his Durga Puja greetings on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that women in the country must be given the respect people give to Goddess Durga. However, in Madhya Pradesh, where the results of the November 3 bypolls to 28 seats will determine if the BJP government stays in power in the state, no sexist language seems to be a taboo.
Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath had kicked off a storm last week with his 'item' jibe at a sitting BJP minister, which drew censure from Rahul Gandhi. While campaigning in Dabra segment in Gwalior district, Kamal Nath had called BJP's Imarti Devi an 'item', drawing angry reactions from the saffron party even as the Congress accused the BJP of trying to misinterpret certain words.
On Friday, BJP leader Imarti Devi reacted strongly to the sexist remark by the Congress leader and condemned the use of such "language" during Navratri. She said that such leaders make sure that the Congress party will never again rule Madhya Pradesh.
"Navratri is going on and he (Kamal Nath) used such language "item" remark) before Bhagwati. So you'll see that Congress party will never come to power in MP. BJP will win all 28 seats & there will always be a BJP govt here," news agency ANI quoted BJP leader Imarti Devi.
The comment had earned Kamal Nath a symbolic 'penance' by BJP leaders on his behalf, as chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan sat on a 'Maun Vrat' and Jyotiraditya Scindia delivered an animated speech against the former chief minister for his comment.
"I did use the word 'item', but it is not an insulting word," Kamal Nath had said, trying to defend himself. However, Rahul Gandhi had asserted his unhappiness over the remark.
Not long ago, Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Dinesh Gurjar had used the phrase "coming from a hungry and ill-clad family" for Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The level of verbal toxicity in the Madhya Pradesh bypoll campaign seems to have gone way beyond sexism into all kinds of low.
(With inputs from agencies)