Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah landed in a controversy on Monday when he snatched the microphone from a woman during a wordy duel resulting in her dupatta getting dislodged at an event in Varuna in Mysuru.
As he faced flak, the senior Congress leader later said the incident was accidental, devoid of any mal-intent and that the woman was like his sister.
The incident which occurred during a public interaction organised by Siddaramaiah, his MLA son Yathindra who represents Varuna assembly constituency, and others, was caught on camera with the video of it going viral.
While the Bharatiya Janata Party condemned the incident, chairperson of the National Commission for Women Rekha Sharma said the commission would write to Karnataka police seeking appropriate action on the matter.
In a series of tweets, Siddaramaiah clarified that the incident happened when he tried to stop the Congress worker from taking more time and was an accident.
'I know that woman for more than 15 years now and she is like my sister,' he said.
The meet was convened to discuss strengthening the party base in the constituency, earlier held by Siddaramaiah, ahead of the coming Lok Sabha elections.
The video showed a wordy duel between Siddaramaiah and Jamalar, a former District Panchayat member, who said she was upset that his son Yathindra 'showed up' seven months after getting elected.
I am not going to keep quiet. We are seeing Saheb today, during the election time, said Jamalar during the meeting.
Her accusation irked Siddaramaiah, who said his son keeps visiting the constituency, which she strongly contested.
The woman tapped the table to buttress her point, further enraging Siddaramaiah who shouted at her and forcibly asked her to sit.
As she beat the table the second time, Siddaramaiah lost his cool and snatched the microphone with which the dupatta got entangled.
Later speaking to reporters, Jamalar said the local officers did not respond and they wanted the MLA's intervention.
"The MLA does not visit our area. Where should we go if we have to get our official works done?" Jamalar asked She, however, regretted thumping the table.
In a tweet, NCW chief Sharma said, 'NCWIndia has taken Suo Motu cognisance. Will write to Karnataka Police to take appropriate action.'
Condemning Siddaramaiah for losing cool, BJP state president B S Yeddyurappa said: "The aggrieved woman is from Congress. She is complaining that the MLA is not available.
"Instead of addressing her grievance persuasively, Siddaramaiah displayed his anger by snatching the microphone from her and shouting at her."
BJP later tweeted the video clip with the caption, government of Kauravas, in an apparent reference to attempted disrobing of Draupadi in epic 'Mahabharata'.
'@siddaramaiah threatening & abusing a women openly. Demon Dushyasana is finally reborn & resumed power in govt of Karnataka. This is how Cong-JDS treats women,' the BJP said.
It also recalled past controversial incidents involving the ruling coalition leaders.
Infuriated at the BJP tweet, Siddaramaiah hit back, 'Our party worker Jamalar has clarified on the Varuna incident.'
'The BJP is insulting the woman to give the incident a political colour. Everybody knows how much regard BJP has for women. I dont need anything to learn from them (sic),' he tweeted.