Minutes after he joined the party, Naresh stated that his ticket to Rajya Sabha was sacrificed for 'somebody who danced and worked in films', referring to Samajwadi Party leader and former Bollywood actress Jaya Bachchan,
He said: "Filmon mein kaam karnewali se meri hesiyat kar di gayi, ye film me dance karte.. apna role karte.. unke naam par humara ticket kata gaya". ( My status was compared to somebody who worked in films. For somebody who dances in films and acts in films, my ticket was denied."
Agrawal's Rajya Sabha term is ending in April and he lost re-nomination to Jaya Bachchan from the Samajwadi Party. Miffed at this, Agrawal joined hands with the BJP on Monday.
When Agrawal let his words loose at the press conference, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra immediately had to interfere and give a clarification that the party respects women from all professions.
Grabbing the microphone he said: "Before I ask Piyush Goyalji to hand over the membership to him, I would like to clarify that whether it is a filmstar or a party worker, BJP respects every profession alike. We respect all."
However, this attempt by Sambit Patra couldn't really help Agrwal from being at the receiving end of lashes on social media.
While the netizens criticised Agrawal for his controversial remark, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minster of Textiles and Information and Broadcasting Smriti Irani, both the leading ladies of the party sharply rebuked him.
External Affairs Minsiter Swaraj, tweeted: "Shri Naresh Agarwal has joined Bhartiya Janata Party. He is welcome. However, his comments regarding Jaya Bachhan ji are improper and unacceptable."
Shri Naresh Agarwal has joined Bhartiya Janata Party. He is welcome. However, his comments regarding Jaya Bachhan ji are improper and unacceptable.
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) March 12, 2018
Smriti Irani said: " let it be a reminder for us that when a woman’s honour is challenged we stand as one in our condemnation irrespective of our politics."
My case is in the court of law for 5 years now. But let my battle not be an excuse to humiliate other women. In fact let it be a reminder for us that when a woman’s honour is challenged we stand as one in our condemnation irrespective of our politics. https://t.co/beneLYVHnk
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) March 12, 2018
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, too condemned the Agrawal's remark. He said: "For the indecent comment on Mrs. Jaya Bachchan Ji, we condemn the statement of BJP's Shri Naresh Agrawal. It is an insult to every woman in India as well as the film world. If the BJP truly respects women, they should urgently take steps against him. The National Commission for Women should also take action."
श्रीमती जया बच्चन जी पर की गयी अभद्र टिप्पणी के लिए हम भाजपा के श्री नरेश अग्रवाल के बयान की कड़ी निंदा करते है. ये फिल्म जगत के साथ ही भारत की हर महिला का भी अपमान है. भाजपा अगर सच में नारी का सम्मान करती है तो तत्काल उनके ख़िलाफ कदम उठाये. महिला आयोग को भी कार्रवाई करनी चाहिए.
— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) March 13, 2018
Watch how Sambit Patra had to take hold of the situation after Naresh Agrawal's controversial jibe.