While political leaders cutting across party lines condemned Azam Khan for his sexist remark against BJP member Rama Devi on Wednesday, the Samajwadi Party MP today found a lone supporter to stand by his side. Defending Khan's statement on Devi, former Bihar Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) president Jitan Ram Manjhi said, "So he should apologise but not resign".
To everyone's surprise, Manjhi also went on to give some absurd examples to safeguard the Uttar Pradesh MP. "When brother, sister meet they kiss, is it equal to sex? Mother kisses son, son kisses mother, is it sex?" the HAM leader was quoted as saying.
On Thursday, Khan's remarks on Devi when she was officiating the proceedings in Lok Sabha during a discussion on the triple talaq bill were slammed as double-meaning, malicious, utterly condemnable and a blot on all legislators, prompting ministers and MPs to demand exemplary action against him.
Later, the 70-year-old politician, who has often been criticised for his weaponry of words, defended his statement, saying "You are very respected, you are like my sister".
In what could be a major shocker to everyone present in the House, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav also came out in Khan's support and said, "I don't think Azam Khan ji meant any disrespect to the chair (Rama Devi). These ( BJP MPs) people are so rude, who are they to raise fingers?"
When asked to apologise by Speaker Birla, the Uttar Pradesh MP said he was ready to tender his resignation if he has said anything unparliamentary. Soon after he later walked out of the Lok Sabha.
Meanwhile, Khan on Friday was informed to appear before Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on July 29 and tender an unconditional apology in the House for his sexist remarks against Devi. According to reports, if Khan fails to apologise, a resolution authorising the speaker to take 'exemplary action' against him will be passed.