A major controversy erupted on Sunday over Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif purportedly calling his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh a "village woman" with Narendra Modi terming it as the "biggest insult" of the prime minister.
"How dare you (Sharif) address my nation's prime minister as a village woman? There cannot be a bigger insult of the Indian prime minister. We can fight with him on policies but this we will not tolerate. This nation of 1.2 billion will not tolerate its Prime Minister's insult," Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate, said at a huge rally in New Delhi
The controversy has its roots in a comment by a well-known Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir on Geo TV that Sharif had used this description "dehati aurat" (village woman) during a breakfast meeting with him and NDTV's Barkha Dutt on Saturday while expressing his unhappiness that Singh complained to United States President Barack Obama about Sharif on Pakistan.
However, Dutt on Twitter said, "this (Mir's version)is a distortion entirely" and that Sharif said "nothing of this kind". Dutt said there were bits in the interaction that were off the record. Secondly, this is distortion even of the off the record, she said.
She went on to add that the bits that were off record did not include any pejorative word about the PM. Mir in the programme quoted Sharif as saying, "It seems as if Manmohan Singh went to complain to Obama about me like a 'dehati aurat'.
Modi, who made an issue of the comments, said, "The journalists who were sitting in front of Nawaz Sharif when he was insulting our prime minister should also answer to the people of my country".
"I want to ask those journalists, I don't know who were they but journalists of my country who were having sweets sitting with Nawaz Sharif when he was abusing our prime minister calling him village woman, I expected those Indian journalists, the country expected them, to refuse the sweets and walk out," he said.