The Maharashtra BJP accused the Opposition Wednesday of being less concerned about the people’s issues and instead fuelling the controversy over its lawmaker Ram Kadam’s anti-women remarks, even as ally Shiv Sena demanded strict action against the legislator.
The BJP MLA on Monday night bragged to young men that he would “kidnap” a girl they like, if she rejects their proposal, but had later expressed regrets over his remarks made at a “Dahi Handi” event in his Ghatkopar assembly constituency.
With Ram Kadam’s remarks triggering an “outrage”, the MNS and NCP Wednesday likened him to demon king Ravan for making the anti-women remark.
BJP state spokesperson Madhav Bhandari played down Mr Kadam’s remark, saying as the MLA has expressed regret over it, the matter is over.
“After Kadam regretted his comments, the chapter is over for the party now. He has tweeted about it, so there is no need to comment on it,” Mr Bhandari said.
Asked about the Opposition slamming the MLA and targeting the BJP, he said, “The opposition parties are not concerned about the ‘real issues’ of the state. They do not want to take any stand over issues that matter, hence they are continuing their tirade against Kadam.”
Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, whose party is an ally of the BJP at the centre and in Maharashtra, however, dared Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to show “courage” and take action the MLA.
Mocking the Union government’s “beti bachaao – beti padhao” slogan, Mr Thackeray said the Maharashtra BJP has launched a “beti bhagao” campaign.
He said no party should give a ticket to Mr Kadam for making such a “snide remark” against women.
“Has the BJP started a ‘beti bhagao’ campaign?” he asked. “No party should give him a ticket in the forthcoming elections. Strict action should be taken against Mr Kadam for insulting our mothers and sisters. The Chief Minister should show courage and take action against him,” Mr Thackeray told reporters.
He said the BJP had taken action against (BJP-backed MLC) Prashant Paricharak and (former Ahmednagar deputy mayor) Shripad Chindam in the past for making derogatory comments, and the same should be followed in Mr Kadam’s case.
The Maharashtra opposition parties earlier likened Mr Kadam to demon king Ravan over his remarks.
The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena put up posters depicting Kadam as Ravan outside Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ residence and in Ghatkopar.
Nationalist Congress Party spokesperson Nawab Malik said the BJP’s “Ravan-like” face was out and its legislator would be called “Ravan Kadam” till he apologises.
Women members of the Indian Youth Congress burnt Mr Kadam’s effigy and also thrashed it with footwear in Indapur town of Maharashtra’s Pune district. Mr Kadam, who is heard making the comments in a video clip, has said his comments were distorted.
“I only repeated a sentence made by one of the persons standing in the crowd… It was not my sentence. The clip which has gone viral is only of 40 seconds. However, later I had said mothers, sisters and daughters in all households are ‘Lakshmi’ who need to be respected,” he said late Tuesday.
“Yet, if I have hurt sentiments, I express regret,” the MLA said.