New Delhi: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday came under attack for attributing the high rate of malnutrition in his state to figure conscious young girls with the Congress saying it was an "insult" to all women.

Accusing Modi of being insensitive towards women, Congress also demanded that he withdraw the "childish" remark while another UPA constituent NCP said the comment does not behove of a chief minister to speak like this. RJD's Lalu Prasad also condemned the remark.

But BJP's Prakash Javadekar dismissed this criticism to Congress' "Modi-phobia".

"That is why whenever it(Congrress) hears the name of Modi it criticises. I can only pity the Congress because wherever they go they are afraid of Modi that is why they criticise him even on non-political subject," he said.

Slamming Modi, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said the Gujarat Chief Minister, who claims himself to be one of the best administrators in the world, is giving this kind of childish statement specially against women and taking the matter lightly.

Explaining why malnutrition level in the state was persistently high, Modi had said in an interview to Wall Street Journal that "Gujarat is ...a middle class state. The middle class is more beauty conscious that health conscious-- that is a challenge. If a mother tells her daughter to have milk they have a fight. She will tell her mother 'I wont drink milk, I will get fat'."

"He is not even sensitive towards women who support their families by sacrificing their food for the sake of their families in Gujarat and now he is saying that women are not eating because they are health conscious. What can be more light statement than this?" Sonia said, adding "I think he is not fit to contest again in Gujarat."

Arjun Modhwadia, who heads the Congress' Gujarat unit, said, "This is not just a joke but is an insult to all women."

Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath said Modi "lacks wisdom" while another Congress leader Girija Vyas demanded that Modi withdraw the remark, asserting the Congress had serious objections to it.

NCP leader Tariq Anwar said, "I think he (Modi) has given this kind of statement to hide his government's failures in the health sector. It does not behove of a CM to speak like this."

(Agencies)

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