New Delhi: Unruffled by widespread outrage over his comments about south Indian women, Janata Dal (United) chief Sharad Yadav remained unrepentant in Parliament on Monday.
The issue was raised in the house by Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. He said: "Comments were made on south Indian women, I was also mentioned, I remained quiet. I want to keep myself away from that comment."
"I completely disagree with the comment. Ask the member to withdraw the comment," he urged the chair.
During the debate on the insurance bill in the Rajya Sabha last week, Yadav spoke on Indian`s obsession for fair skin and said: "Your God is dark like Ravi Shankar Prasad, but your matrimonial ads insist on white-skinned brides."
Referring to complexion of south Indian women, he said: "The women of the south are dark but they are as beautiful as their bodies... We don`t see it here. They know (how to) dance."
Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, 67-year-old Yadav said that he was ready for a debate on the issue. "What have I said ... 'saanvli' (dark complexioned) women are more in number in India, they are more in number the world over. I am ready to debate with anyone on the struggle of (Ram Manohar) Lohia and others for them," he said in Rajya Sabha.
Yadav was countered by both treasury and opposition members with Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani requesting him to refrain from making such comments.
"I appeal through you (chair) to the gentleman, do not make comments about the colour of any woman`s skin. You (Sharad Yadav) are a senior member, a very wrong message is going to the rest of the country," she said.
As other MPs joined in, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said he would not allow a discussion on the issue. "I am not allowing any discussion ... White or dark colour, it is all the same," he said.
Earlier, Yadav had said, “Why should I apologise? I will make them understand what I meant. Do you think I said anything wrong?"
"There was no opposition and I didn't say any such thing. In the entire country, wherever men or women are giving training in dance, their figure improves. In the south, there is a huge tradition of dance, art and music, that is why their figure is good," he added.
He said that he attacked the preference for fair women in the country.
"I said the colour of this country is primarily dark. Our gods Ram and Krishna are also dark but in matrimonial ads we seek fair women, but this is not good. I attacked that. I meant that beauty can't be measured by fair or dark skin and there should be no discrimination on that basis," said Yadav.
He also pointed out that the maker of the controversial 'India's Daughters' documentary, Leslee Udwin, gained permission to shoot her film because of her skin colour.
"I also said that the woman who came to make the film got permission because of her skin colour. So it was the ground reality which I spoke," Yadav added.