Naresh Agrawal has remained brazenly defiant and refused to apologise over the sexist and denigrating remarks he made against Jaya Bachchan during the course of the news conference where he was inducted as a BJP member.
Speaking to reporters, Agrawal said:
"What I said about Jaya Bachchan ji, if it has caused hurt to anyone, I regret it. Samajwadi party didn't feel a need for me to be valued and they chose to not use me (for a Rajya Sabha seat), and my own Agrawal society was also putting pressure on me, that if I have to be on the national stage, I should be with the BJP."
When Republic TV pressed him on the matter by asking if he would apologise, he wasn't forthcoming with a direct answer, continuing to use the word 'khed' (regret). He refused to answer directly if he would apologise.
Agrawal, during the BJP press conference where he was inducted as a member after jumping ship from the SP, made a remark that translates as follows:
"I've been compared with women who work in films. One who does dance and roles in films... in their favour, my ticket was cut. I didn't feel that appropriate."
Jaya Bachchan was preferred by the SP over Agrawal for being given a Rajya Sabha ticket.
The remark forced party spokesperson Dr Sambit Patra to state that "in films or in life, everyone is worthy of respect and the BJP respects them". A number of reporters began to question the remarks at that point. Watch the news conference here.
BJP leader and Union Minister Sushma Swaraj panned Agrawal for his comments, tweeting directly on the matter:
Speaker of the Lok Sabha Sumitra Mahajan has also condemned the comment, while Agrawal's former colleague at the Samajwadi party, former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav has said:
"For the indecent comment on Mrs. Jaya Bachchan Ji, we condemn the BJP's Shri Naresh Agrawal's statement. It is also an insult to every woman in India as well as the film world. If the BJP truly respects women, they should urgently take action. The Women Commission should also take action."