New Delhi, March 14, 2015 (Agencies) Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav came under sharp criticism on Friday for speaking in awe of the “bodies” and dancing skills of “dark-skinned” South Indian women during a discussion in the Rajya Sabha.

Yadav’s comments, which triggered a controversy among politicians and on social media, came during a discussion on the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill on Thursday evening.

While opposing the hike in Foreign Direct Investment from 26 to 49 per cent in the insurance sector, the JD (U) chief spoke about uncalled “affinity” for white-skinned people in India.  He said that Leslee Udwin, director of controversial documentary on the Delhi gang-rape India’s Daughter, would have got permission to shoot easily because she was white.

“Your god is dark like Ravi Shankar Prasad (present in the House), but your matrimonial ads insist on white-skinned brides," Yadav went on. Prasad responded to the statement by saying: “There was also a dark man—Mahatma Gandhi—who drove the whites out of the country.”

Continuing his speech, the JD (U) chief said, “The women of the South are dark but they are…their bodies...”. Yadav further spoke about the “dancing skills” of South Indian women. DMK parliamentarian Kanimozhi voiced her protest, the only one in the 243-member House to do so, prompting Yadav to say: “Just because it is a serious discussion, it doesn’t mean one has to be serious all the time.”  As his remarks triggered a controversy on Friday, Yadav refused to apologise, reasoning that he had not said anything wrong. 

His party colleague K C Tyagi, however, said he was “sorry if somebody is angry or hurt” as the JD (U) chief's remark was not in bad taste.

Congress MP Rajiv Shukla said that Yadav’s comments called for an apology, while CPM Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat said the JD (U) chief’s statements were “highly objectionable”.

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