Kamal Nath was addressing a campaign meeting in Madhya Pradesh's Dabra (File)
A video of former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath using the word "item" seemingly for a former woman colleague who switched over to the BJP has created a furore amid campaigning for next month's assembly by-elections.
Addressing a campaign meeting in Dabra, where the Congress is up against Imarti Devi of the BJP, Mr Nath said his party candidate was a "simple person" unlike his opponent who is an "item".
"Why should I take the name (of the opposing candidate)? You all know that person better than me. What an item," Mr Nath said amid cheers from the crowd which kept shouting "Imarti Devi" as the remarks were being made.
Hitting back, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan took to Twitter to say, "Imarti Devi is the daughter of a poor farmer" who rose to become a public servant after starting off as a village labourer.
By referring to a woman as "item", the Congress and its and leadership have revealed its "feudal mindset", Mr Chouhan tweeted. The Chief Minister will sit on a silent protest from 10 am to 12 pm on Monday.
Imarti Devi also took on Kamal Nath for the comment. "What is my fault if I was born in a poor family? What is my fault if I belong to Dalits? I want to appeal to Sonia Gandhi, who is also a mother, to not keep such people in her party. If such words will be used for women then how can any woman move forward?" she told news agency ANI.
A BJP delegation met Election Commission officials in Bhopal and complained against Mr Nath for "insulting women and Dalits".
Ms Devi and 21 other MLAs loyal to Jyotiraditya Scindia had resigned from the Congress and the state Assembly and joined the BJP in March, bringing down the Kamal Nath government.
Bypolls for 28 Madhya Pradesh Assembly seats will be held on November 3 and results will be declared on November 10.
(With inputs from PTI)