New Delhi/Lucknow: Taking politics to a new low ahead of the ensuing state elections, the BJP's Uttar Pradesh vice president Dayashankar Singh likened Mayawati to prostitutes while accusing the former UP Chief Minister of selling her party's election tickets to the highest bidder.
He was later sacked from all party posts, following protests from across the country and upraor in Rajya Sabha - the Upper House of Parliament.
A video clip of the controversial remarks at a press conference, released by news agency ANI on Wednesday, showed Dayashankar Singh saying, "Mayawati has deviated from the principles that were outlined by Kanshiram."
He then said her decision-making on ticket distribution was akin to that a sex worker.
"She sells BSP seats to highest-bidder. In the morning, Mayawati may give a BSP ticket to someone for Rs 1 crore. After two hours, she may sell the same ticket for Rs 2 crore. In the evening, she may even hand over the same seat to another person for Rs 3 crore," said Dayashankar Singh.
His comments caused an uproar in the Rajya Sabha with the BSP leaders leading a vociferous protest. Not happy with mere removal of Singh as party office bearer, the BSP leaders demanded his arrest.
The issue was raised by Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad who said though his party had political differences with the BSP, it will not allow any such remark to be made against a woman, who is also a leader of a political party and has been a four-time Chief Minister.
He said the use of words by the BJP leader only reflected his mindset and a case should be registered against him under laws on atrocities against SCs/STs.
Azad demanded that the person be arrested and added that "someone with such a mentality should have no place in any party or hold any office in any party."
Jaitley on his part said he was not aware of the incident till Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi apprised him few minutes back.
"It is not right and I condemn the use of such words and I will look into this matter. I express personal regrets. I associate our dignity with yours and stand with you," Jaitley said.
Mayawati's responded in anguish saying "I did not marry and considered the entire country's oppressed as my family. I have always followed my mentor Kanshi Ram's advice to take (donation) from the underprivileged and not industrialists," she said, adding that the BJP was perturbed by the huge support her party was getting in Uttar Pradesh.
Observing that she was "grateful" to Jaitley and the opposition leaders for supporting her, Mayawati said "What that BJP leader (from UP) has said, he said it not to me but to his sister and his daughter because people treat me like their daughter and sister. The country will not forgive the BJP for encouraging such people."
Singh, a student leader who rose in the BJP ranks recently, had unsuccessfully contested the recent polls for the Legislative Council. Last week he was appointed the party's Vice-President in Uttar Pradesh.