Kerala Chief Minister and Communist Party of India - Marxist veteran V S Achuthanandan on Wednesday got into trouble over his comment about his opponent and Congress leader in Malampuzha segment Lathika Subhash.
Subhash moved the Election Commission and court against him for making a 'defamatory' remark against her.
The row was sparked by Achuthanandan's comment at a press meet in Palakkad on Tuesday when he said, "They are famous, and, if you inquire, you will know how they are famous," referring to his rival candidate for the April 13 assembly polls.
Stung by 87-year old Achuthanandan's reported remarks, Lathika filed a petition in a magistrate court in Palakkad, which decided to record her statement on April 30. The state chief electoral officer sought a report from the Palakkad district collector on the issue.
Achuthanandan also moved the EC, complaining that there had been some attempts to misinterpret his statement.
Earlier, reacting to the charge, Achuthanandan said he did not intend to insult Lathika and what he meant was that she was famous as she had earlier served as Kottayam district panchayat president and as Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee secretary.
Congress leaders, including Defence Minister A K Antony, the party's women's wing and several women rights activists flayed the Marxist leader for his 'unsavoury' dig at his opponent.
In her complaint to EC, Lathika said Achuthanandan's remarks were intended to defeat her in the polls through character assassination by using 'innuendos', which involved the violation of poll codes.
Rejecting the charge of deliberately casting a slur, Achuthanandan said he was a person who always held women in high respect.
Lathika said, "It is unfortunate that a person who is 10 years older than my father has made such a remark."
Lathika was handpicked by the Congress in the CPI-M bastion against Achuthanandan, who has made his 'relentless struggles' against exploiters of women as a key poll plank.
National award-winning actress Sarada, who is campaigning for the UDF, said a senior leader like Achuthanandan should not have made such a comment against a woman.