Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi on Thursday apologised after his comment with sexist innuendo against a woman journalist from Kerala landed him in trouble with women activists and the BJP.
"I'm sorry for the comment. I have already conveyed my regret for the remark to the TV channel in which the journalist works," Ravi said.
When a lady journalist asked him about the Kurien case, Ravi said nothing will happen to her and asked whether she had anything personal against the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson. He went on to ask, "Did he (Kurien) do something to you?, sparking an outrage among the scribes.
The Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs said he has called up the lady journalist and apologised for the comment.
"I have been misunderstood. I always joke with journalists. There is nothing deliberate. Everyone took it as a joke," he claimed.
BJP slammed Ravi for making such remarks and demanded a public apology from him.
"We condemn the behaviour of Vayalar Ravi towards a lady journalist. It is extremely unfortunate that he has misused his authority and position to intimidate a journalist who was only asking a question which fell within the ambit of her professional responsibility," BJP Mahila Morcha Chief Smriti Irani said.
She said Ravi's behaviour was a matter of "deep concern" and wondered what his conduct would be when there are no cameras around.
But National Commission for Woman chairperson Mamta Sharma said the commission would probe the matter.
"Coming from the position of power and maturity, it is really highly deplorable that he has made such a sexist comment," said rights activist Ranjana Kumari.
She said the issue should be raised in parliament as "this has become almost a habit of the political class".
"If he lost control, definitely apology is justified," said BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said Ravi has apologised for his comments and the matter should rest there.
Image: File photo of Vayalar Ravi