Nirmala Sitharaman seeks 'exemplary action' against Azam Khan, calls it ‘utterly condemnable conduct’

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday demanded exemplary action against Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan over his remarks against BJP MP Rama Devi and called it an "utterly condemnable conduct".

"It is an abominable act... I appeal to you Speaker sir, like the way it was suggested, I think it is important. You are empowered adequately... In this particular case, every member of the House has felt strongly, we look towards you for an exemplary action in this matter... so that never ever women will be politicized or women will be treated badly or abused," Sitharaman said while speaking in Lok Sabha.

Sitharaman said that "it is very encouraging to see members stand up, all wanting to speak in one voice, about what happened yesterday in the House - utterly condemnable conduct." Azam Khan, on Thursday, made objectionable remarks against BJP member Rama Devi, who was presiding over the House as BJP members sought an apology from him.

"I am extremely grateful to every honourable member who stood up in support of this absolutely emotional moment where all of us are offended, not just because a woman has been spoken so badly, but a woman, who is occupying the chair... Every time we repeat to ourselves here saying we better conduct ourselves in such a way as the nation is watching us, conduct ourselves in such a way that we respect the Chair and in the chair when a woman is seated. It's not an easy position to reach for a woman," Sitharaman said.

She added, "At this time, to again politicize an issue related to women is outrageous, let us all stand together, speak in one voice, which is what I thought was happening here. Why is that hesitation? Why is that dilemma? Why is that doubt?" As Congress leaders interrupted Sitharaman she said, "Let me finish. I have heard everybody. I have not named anybody, I should be allowed to talk... I have not named anybody here for people to object and get up to interrupt my speech here." "When an MP could name a woman, when a MP can stand up and question somebody, when an MP can stand up and judge people, there is no democracy in this House if that's the way in which it is."

On Thursday, Azam Khan Khan did not apologise and said he will resign if he had said anything unparliamentary. He also staged a walkout along with his party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who defended his remarks. The uproar began soon after Azam Khan started his speech on the Triple Talaq Bill and sought to take a dig at remarks made by union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. Rama Devi asked him to speak looking at the Chair and address the House through the presiding officer. Azam Khan made remarks that were perceived to be sexist by the treasury benches and they strongly objected, Khan said she was very respected and was like a sister to her.

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