BJP lawmaker and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Rama Devi has said that she will “never forgive” Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, even if he apologizes for his remarks to her in parliament this week that that was condemned by lawmakers across political lines as sexist. Rama Devi said that Azam Khan insulted the chair twice – once by making the comment and second by not apologizing instantly.
“When he (Azam Khan) gave this statement, I was sitting in the chair of the speaker. The chair looks where everyone is looked at equality. I respected everyone equally. Azam Khan was speaking directly to MPs when I asked him to address the chair. But soon after, he used words which cannot be repeated here,” Rama Devi said in an exclusive interview with NDTV.
Rama Devi said she could have given a strong retort but didn’t speak out of respect for the chair she held then.
“Every man has a mother, sister, daughter, and wife. Azam Khan’s remark is going to hurt not only women but also the dignity of men,” she said.
Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Friday met parliamentarians to decide on action against the Uttar Pradesh politician after several lawmakers, including ministers, expressed outrage over his comments, and demanded exemplary action. NDTV has learned that Azam Khan will be asked to furnish an unconditional apology in parliament on Monday, failing which, tougher action could be taken.
But Rama Devi is not convinced.
“If Azam Khan had apologized for his indecent statement on the same day, I would have forgiven him. He even walked off on Thursday post making this comment – adding insult to injury. If he apologizes and is forgiven, then I do not want to witness this in the house. I will tell the Speaker that Azam Khan has not only embarrassed Rama Devi, but women across the country have been insulted. I will tell the Speaker Om Birla that Azam Khan needs to be given such exemplary punishment that is remembered for generations to come,” she said.
“People like Azam Khan and (Samajwadi Party chief) Akhilesh Yadav will not understand the struggle after which I have reached here,” a combative Rama Devi added.
When BJP lawmaker Rama Devi, officiating as Speaker, asked him to address the Chair while making his point, he responded with comments that were so offensive that shouts of “shame” erupted in the house. The comments were expunged.