Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal found himself at the centre of a controversy on Tuesday over his sexist remark that wives lose charm over time, sparking an outrage among women's groups which dubbed the comment as "disgusting and derogatory".
Facing flak for his remarks at a Kavi sammelan in Kanpur on Sunday night, Jaiswal offered an apology, saying he had no intention to hurt the sentiments of women.
Jaiswal also came under attack from opposition BJP which raised questions on his continuance in the Union Cabinet.
Protestors including women burnt effigies of Jaiswal and blackened posters with his face on it in his home town in Kanpur.
Jaiswal, who was addressing the sammelan when news of India's victory over Pakistan in a ICC World Twenty20 match in Sri Lanka came in, said that like an old victory wives lose charm as time goes by.
Observing that people became excited after India's victory, Jaiswal said, "new new victory and new new wedding, both of them have their own importance.
As time will pass, the victory will become old. As time passes wife also becomes old, that charm does not sustain."
Jaiswal claimed today his comments were misconstrued and taken out of context and that he apologised for the same if they have hurt the sentiments of women.
"When I was inaugurating a Kavi sammelan news came that India beat Pakistan and people started bursting crackers. I stopped the sammelan and said that you celebrate the victory first since the charm of celebration is for new victory only.
If it will get old the charm will get lost like the way a wife gets old then celebration of marriage does not remain that enjoyable. Similarly, if the victory will become old you will not enjoy celebration in the morning. My remarks have been misconstrued," he told reporters in Delhi.
"The comment is really derogatory," said Mamata Sharma, Chairperson of National Commission for Women(NCW) while BJP's women's wing chief Smriti Irani called the remarks "preposterous and disgusting."
Congress distanced itself from the remarks of Jaiswal.
"Since he has already clarified/explained/apologised, the matter should rest there," Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari told areporters in Delhi.