Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde Thursday had to retract his remarks and apologise to Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan for a remark on her Bollywood background while replying to a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on the violence in Assam.
Shinde, who was responding to the discussion as home minister for the first time, took objection to Bachchan interrupting him and said it was not a subject of films.
“Listen to me, my sister. It is a matter of concern… It is not a subject of film,” Shinde said.
The comment enraged Bachchan and several other members triggering an uproar in the house.
“I strongly object to this comment,” an outraged Bachchan retorted.
She was backed by Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley, who wanted Shinde’s comment to be deleted.
“This is a house where people, who are achievers in a lot of fields, become members. Jayaji is an achiever in her field, the home minister of India cannot use it as a taunt,” he said.
Jaitley said it was a matter of pride that Bachchan was a member of the upper house.
The BJP leader said the home minister should make amends and withdraw his comments so that the house proceedings could resume.
Amid uproar from SP and other opposition members, Shinde tried to clarify his remarks. “I know her whole family, I respect her a lot. I am also from Mumbai.”
The actor-turned-politician refused to be pacified. “I cannot accept this,” Bachchan said.
Shinde then said: “I apologise, she is my sister.” He agreed that the remark should be deleted from the records.
The home minister concluded his reply abruptly amid protests by opposition members. BJP leaders later said the minister had repeated his reply given in the Lok Sabha Wednesday.
A minister later sought to play down the faux pas by the minister, who has replaced Pranab Mukherjee as Leader of the House in the Lok Sabha.
“What he (Shinde) was trying to say was that it (solution to Assam riots) was not like a film which will end in three hours,” the minister told IANS.