Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Tribal and Scheduled Caste Welfare Minister Vijay Shah has courted a major controversy over his alleged `sexist remarks`, leaving ruling BJP red faced even as Congress took to streets demanding his removal.
The remarks were made by Shah while addressing a function in tribal-dominated Jhabua district two days ago.
What raised the hackles of BJP was a passing reference Shah allegedly made about the wife of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan during his speech.
"The party has taken the issue seriously and it is totally unacceptable to it. We have asked him (Shah) to clarify his position on the matter today itself", state unit BJP president Narendra Singh Tomar told reporters here on Tuesday.
Tomar said the minister was taking time to visit the party leadership on the issue since his mother-in-law is serious.
However, Shah has already tendered an apology, accusing the media of "misconstruing" his remarks by takingthem out of context.
"If anyone felt offended by my speech, I apologise ten times. Whatever I said was in a lighter vein but it was distorted by the media", he said.
However, Shah`s apology failed to cool the tempers with opposition Congress taking to streets against his "derogatory" remarks.
The women wing of state Congress burnt his effigies at Jhabua, Indore, Bhopal and Khandwa among other places even as the State Women Congress president Archana Jaiswal demanded immediate sacking of the minister and also questioned the "silence" of leaders of BJP women wing on the issue.
State Congress president Kantilal Bhuria and the Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh said "the episode has exposed Chouhan`s much publicised respect for women".
"If he (Chouhan) has any concern for women`s respect, then he should immediately dismiss the minister from the cabinet", they said addressing a party rally in Mandla district.
Efforts to contact Shah over phone proved futile.