President Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit landed in a controversy today over his description of women protesters in Delhi against the gang-rape incident as 'highly dented and painted', sparking a massive outrage with his remark dubbed as "sexist".
President had asked him to apologise. “As a father, he (the President) also asked me what prompted you to say that. You are in public life and definitely it will create controversy. You must apologise. I said I have already done (so). My intention was not to hurt anyone. Not to undermine the agitation,” the MP said.
"Those who are coming in the name of students in the rallies, sundori, sundori mahila (beautiful women), highly dented and painted," Abhijit Mukherjee, an MP from Jangipur seat which the President had vacated before his election, told a vernacular news channel.
"Giving interviews in TV and showing off their children. I wonder whether they are students at all," he said, adding, "what's basically happening in Delhi is something like pink revolution, which has very little connection with ground realities."
As he came under attack for his "insensitive" remarks with even his sister Sharmistha expressing "utter shock and anguish" and apologising on his behalf, Mukherjee tendered an "unconditional apology" and offered to resign his Lok Sabha seat, if asked to do so by party and people. There were demands from women activists for his resignation.
He withdrew his comments and said they were not meant to hurt "any particular section or any particular sentiment".
"I withdraw those words which have hurt the sentiments of others. My intention was not to hurt and I apologise unconditionally to all the persons and all the cross-section of people in the society who got hurt by my utterance."
Offering his "sincere apology" to the people who have been hurt by his statement, Mukherjee said, "Had I knows that this would hurt so many people in so many ways, (I) may not have commented this."
Mukherjee also apologised to his father and Sharmistha, saying their sentiments too have been hurt by his words. He said the President had also asked him what prompted him to make such a statement.
Social activist Subhasini Ali termed the remarks as "atrocious" and "insulting" to women while noted actor Sharmila Tagore called it "very sexist".
CPI-M's Brinda Karat said the remark showed Abhijit's "sickening and perverted" mentality and asserted time has