Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Tuesday slammed their former member Naresh Agarwal, who has now joined the BJP, for his comments on actress-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan and demanded an apology from him.
In a statement, Mayawati said that other than being in poor taste, the statement also reflected Agarwal's anti-women mindset.
The four-time Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister also said that the Bharatiya Janata Party should clarify its stand on the statement of its new leader and take corrective measures.
Akhilesh Yadav, in whose party Agarwal was before switching sides, termed his statement against Jaya Bachchan unfortunate and also called for action against him from leadership of his new party.
Rajya Sabha MP and former SP general secretary Amar Singh too slammed Agarwal's statement. At a conclave organised by the Indian TV group in the state capital, to assess the one-year-rule of the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government, Singh said it was unfortunate that such uncouth words were used against Jayha Bachchan.
Though clarifying that he has nothing to do with Jaya Bachchan, once a dear friend, he took the opportunity to bash the SP, saying Agarwal's approach towards women was typical of any SP leader and termed the party completely anti-women.
Agarwal, who quit Samajwadi Party on Monday and joined the BJP after he was denied a renomination to Rajya Sabha when the SP chose Bachchan over him, had in his first press conference at the BJP headquarters, called her a "naachne gaane waalia.
"I am hurt that a dancer and an actress was chosen over a party veteran like me," he said.
The statement had triggered a storm within the BJP, with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, in a tweet soon after, expressing her strong disapproval. While welcoming Agarwal in the party, she said that the statement given against Jaya Bachchan was unacceptable.
A known party hopper, Agarwal who started his political journey with the Congress has been part of successive BJP governments in UP in the 1990s and later switched to the BSP, which sent him to the upper house of the Parliament.
He had later ditched Mayawati for the Samajwadi Party, served a full term as its Rajya Sabha member, before switching over to the BJP.