NEW DELHI -- Somnath Bharti should have been advised to lay low until the storm created by his bizarre remark about "beautiful women" passed, but the Aam Aadmi Party lawmaker decided to top one offensive remark with another one.
"I request media friends not to twist my statement: I have said 'beautiful women laden with jewelries can travel at midnight fearlessly is the kind of benchmark one can measure security level at Delhi against, if AAP has police control," Bharti posted on Facebook.
The AAP leader believes this is an improvement on his original remark in the Delhi Legislative Assembly on Monday: "Beautiful women will be able to go out without fear after midnight" if the AAP government controls the police.
Since coming to power in February, the AAP government has been pushing for the national capital to attain full statehood so that the ruling party has power over the Delhi police and control appointments.
Now, Bharti's correction would suggest that he just doesn't get that it's not okay for a public leader to comment on the physical appearance of the women in Delhi or women anywhere - period. The AAP leader has also a hit a new low by linking physicality with security.
"It is absolutely disgusting and derogatory towards women, but it is not surprising coming from someone who defied law even when he was law minister. It really shows his attitude," said Congress leader Sharmistha Mukherjee.
The lawmaker from Malviya Nagar has given his party a fair share of anxious moments, but AAP has always stood by him. In June, Bharti's wife accused him of domestic violence and unleashing dogs on her. "I’m an average looking woman and now it seems that Mr. Bharti only cares about the security of beautiful women," Lipika Bharti told Times Now.
Last year, Bharti faced severe criticism for his vigilante-midnight raid against Ugandan and Nigerian women living in Khirki Extension, who locals accused of running a drug and prostitution racket.
Responding to criticism about his "beautiful women" remark, Bharti told Times Now that he was reiterating what his father told him about how the city used to be so safe that "beautiful women" wearing jewellery could walk without fear. "I didn’t say a black woman, a white woman, every woman is beautiful," he said.
Communist Party of India member Brinda Karat called Bharti a "serial offender," and described his defence as "ridiculous and absurd."