Azam Khan responded sarcastically when Rama Devi, deputy speaker for the lower house, asked him to look at her as he addressed her during a debate on Thursday
Indian lawmakers called on Friday for one of their colleagues to be punished for making sexist remarks to the house speaker, the second time he has been in hot water over his treatment of a female colleague.
Azam Khan responded sarcastically when Rama Devi, deputy speaker for the lower house, asked him to look at her as he addressed her during a debate on Thursday.
"I want to look at you so much that you will end up telling me to look away," Khan responded, in comments Indian media condemned as sexist.
"I like you so much, you are so dear to me that I only wish to gaze into your eyes all the time," said the 70-year-old representative of the regional Samajwadi Party.
#SexistAzam | Azam Khan is repeat offender, he will continue to speak this language and Samajwadi Party will continue to apologise : Priyanka Chaturvedi (@priyankac19), Deputy Leader, Shiv Sena— News18 (@CNNnews18) July 26, 2019
Watch #FaceOff with @Zakka_Jacob pic.twitter.com/ucgCdfOYaB
The comments came months after Khan came under fire for remarking on the color of a former female MP's underwear, and triggered outraged responses from some rival politicians.
"This parliament passed the sexual harassment at the workplace bill ... we cannot just sit around and be silent spectators," India's women's minister Smriti Irani told the house on Friday.
Azam Khan has become habit of insulting women.Such leaders have no right to live in politics. pic.twitter.com/bbFaFyA1kzJuly 25, 2019
Shame on Azam Khan - a blot on all male legislators!— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) July 25, 2019
India's parliament has a reputation for boisterousness, with the speaker frequently forced to call off daily proceedings as lawmakers loudly heckle each other, or try to press their demands by storming the well of the house.
Just 78 of the 542 seats in India's lower house are held by women.
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav later defended Khan, saying he did not mean any disrespect to Devi, an MP from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Nonetheless, some social media users condemned his remarks and television news channels debated whether he should be suspended.
Khan himself appeared unrepentant.
"Sister, I have had a long political career, it is not possible for me to say anything bad," he told the speaker after the furore over his original remarks.