Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday said BJP MP Vinay Katiyar has "exposed the mindset" of his party with his alleged sexist remarks against her.
Scoffing at Vinay Katiyar for his sexist remarks against her, Priyanka said, "He's right...they do! If that's all he sees in my colleagues, who are such strong, brave, beautiful women, who have battled through all sorts of hardships to get where they are, then he makes me laugh even more. Because he exposes the BJP mindset towards the better half of the population of India.”
When asked about Priyanka being named as a star campaigner by Congress for Uttar Pradesh polls said, Katiyar had said, "It doesn't matter...There are girls and women who are more beautiful than her (Priyanka) and are also star campaigners."
"Some of them are artists and heroines...They are more beautiful than her," he said.
Katiyar’s remarks about Priyanka came a day after the Congress included her name in the list of ‘star campaigners’ for the Uttar Pradesh assembly election.
The Congress demanded an apology from the BJP parliamentarian, even as the remark drew sharp reactions from opposition parties and also from cross-sections of people.
Later talking to reporters, he tried to downplay his remarks, saying it was an internal matter of the Congress as to whom they want to appoint as their campaigner.
But, he added that if the Congress is under the "impression that they have the beautiful face of Priyanka for campaigning, then to counter that the BJP also has many beautiful faces which it may ask to campaign for.”
However, he said, "It is wrong and unfair to compare beauty with capability but the Congress is doing this.”
Katiyar refused to back down on his comment that the BJP had "prettier” election campaigners than Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter.
"If someone is beautiful it isn’t bad. I said we have many pretty leaders, like Smriti Irani,” said Katiyar, referring to the Union textiles minister.
"Smriti Irani is a pretty face and a good leader. She fought well in Amethi (Lok Sabha election),” he told CNN-News18.
"Don’t call my thinking as bad... instead work on your thought process. Is being pretty bad?”
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the BJP has "insulted” India’s womanhood and such conduct, behaviour and words proved its mentality. The BJP has insulted India’s womanhood. Such conduct, behaviour and words prove BJP’s mentality. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah should apologise,” he said.
Mr. Surjewala said the BJP-RSS combine suffered from a "deeprooted and retrograde anti-women mindset. There is a long list led by Mohan Bhagwat and Kailash Vijayvargiya".
"Disparaging and atrocious remarks of Vinay Katiyar on Priyankaji reflect the petty and insulting culture of the BJP that commodifies women. To adjudge India’s women by physical features and not by their capacity, capability, strength and sacrifice proves the lowly BJP mentality,” he said.
The Congress leader also said that if Modi and Shah have any respect left for women in the country, they should display courage by initiating strict action against Katiyar for his remarks, otherwise women will show their power by voting against the BJP.
Reacting to it Robert Vadra termed Katiyar’s sexist remarks against wife Priyanka as shameful, and sought a public apology from the BJP leader.
"Such statements expose shameful mindset of some political leaders, Vinay Katiyar should publically apologise for his remarks,” said Vadra in a post on his Facebook page.