Mumbai: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Ram Kadam found himself in the midst of a storm after his controversial remark about his alleged readiness to abduct girls for spurned suitors. Angry protests erupted against him across the state. The opposing Congress and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) demanded Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis sack him. The Shiv Sena demanded action against him. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and NCP workers protested in front of Kadam’s residence, putting bangles on Kadam’s effigy. Meanwhile, the MNS has lodged a police complaint against Kadam under section 359 (kidnapping) of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Demonstrators from political parties and outfits, which included women in overwhelming numbers, castigated the legislator for his callous and insensitive remarks, hurling footwear on his effigy and pictures. Embarrassed by Kadam’s insensitive remarks, Raosaheb Danve, state president of the BJP sought a clarification from Kadam. “The party has asked Kadam to submit the full video clip of his statement. We will check in what context he had uttered the remark. We want to hear the full speech — before and after his alleged remarks and will then decide what action must be taken against him,” said Danve.
Uddhav Thackeray, Sena president demanded action against the BJP legislator, similar to the action the party had taken against Prashant Paricharak, a BJP supporter and Independent legislator from Solapur and Shripad Chhindam, the deputy mayor of Aurangabad municipal corporation, for their condemnable statements. “No party should give him a ticket (in the next assembly election),” Thackeray said.
Senior Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, addressing a public rally in Indapur during the Congress’s ‘Jan Sangharsh Yatra’ said, “It appears that the BJP is running a ‘beti bhagao’ (abducting the girl child) programme, instead of its much-vaunted beti bachao (save the girl child) scheme.”
Terming Kadam’s statement as “unfortunate” and “utterly condemnable”, Vikhe-Patil, who is Leader of Opposition in the legislative assembly, warned that the Congress would not let the next session of the state legislature commence unless Kadam was suspended. A large number of activists from the All India Mahila Congress — the party’s women’s wing — raised slogans against the BJP legislator and burnt his effigy during the ‘Jan Sangharsh Yatra’. In Pune, senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar lambasted Kadam for his insensitive remarks. “How can the BJP’s legislators make such shocking statements about women and their right to choose a life partner? How can anybody dare express such sentiments in a state renowned for its progressive tradition and heritage?” said Pawar, remarking that the ruling BJP was suffering from a dangerous case of political hubris.