Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje on Friday demanded action against former Janata Dal-United leader Sharad Yadav for body shaming her during an election rally, saying she felt insulted by his comments and the Election Commission must take cognisance.
Yadav made personal comments on Raje's appearance, calling her fat and asking people to give her rest, while addressing a rally in Alwar on the last day of campaigning in Rajasthan on Wednesday.
He later said it was a joke.
"I feel insulted. This is the insult of women," Raje told reporters in Jhalawar. adding that she was 'absolutely shocked' and did not expect such a comment from an experienced leader.
Raje, who is fighting for another term in office, said a leader who had close relations with her family could not control his language.
It is important, the chief minister asserted, that the Election Commission takes cognisance of this and sets an example so people don't repeat such a thing in future.
A video of Yadav was circulated on social media, with many labelling his comments crass and misogynistic.
Calling Raje a daughter of Madhya Pradesh, he said people need to give her some rest as she was very tired. She was thin earlier, and was now fat, he is heard as saying.
Faced with backlash from various quarters, Yadav said it was a joke.
'I said it as a joke. I've old relations with her. It wasn't derogatory in any way. I had no intentions of hurting her. When I met her, I told her then also that you're gaining weight,' Yadav tweeted.
Yadav was campaigning for the Loktantrik Janata Dal in Alwar district's Mundwar constituency, one of the five seats where the Congress has entered into an alliance with various parties.
In Delhi, Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Brinda Karat echoed Raje's call for an apology from Yadav.
"A senior leader like Sharad Yadav making such a derogatory comment on a woman leader, who is also a chief minister, is extremely objectionable. He should withdraw his statement and offer an apology," Karat said.
"We have very strong political differences with the BJP and Vasundhara Raje. We have been very critical of her policies. But such a personal comment against a woman can never be accepted," she said.
The sharp response to Yadav's remarks came on a day Rajasthan voted for a new assembly.
The votes will be counted on December 11.