Mumbai: There were Statewide protests in Maharashtra on Wednesday against BJP MLA from Ghatkopar (Mumbai) after his highly controversial and objectionable comments at a public function in Mumbai on Tuesday where Ram Kadam was reportedly heard on video saying “I will do any kind of work you want if you like some girl and she says no to you and your parents too approve of the girl, I will kidnap her and hand her over to you.” The comments by Kadam were broadcast on private news channels from late night on Tuesday and it raised a huge storm in Maharashtra. The Congress, Sharad Pawar’s NCP and Shiv Sena demanded that Ram Kadam should be suspended from the assembly, while Raj Thackeray’s MNS held marathon agitations against MLA Kadam in many parts of the State.
The BJP was seen going totally on the backfoot as one of its most influential MLAs, who represents the party as its spokesperson in several debates every week, was seen making such chauvinistic comments in public space. The party remained silent on the subject as the Opposition took up the issue and blasted Kadam by holding agitations in front of his house and many other areas of Mumbai.
The Shiv Sena attacked MLA Kadam for his comments. Party Chief Uddhav Thackery said in Mumbai, “Not only should strict action be taken against him but he should not be given a ticket by any party to contest future elections. He is a person of a low character and mentality,” Thackeray told the media here. The Sena chief summoned a hurried press conference after BJP legislator’s remarks on Monday sparked off an uproar in Maharashtra, drawing all round condemnation from social and political circles.
“I am not aware whether the BJP has launched a ‘Beti Bhagao’ programme. But if anybody speaks like this about our sisters and daughters, we will not tolerate it,” Thackeray warned, coming down heavily on Kadam. Kicking off a huge controversy, Kadam, a BJP legislator from Ghatkopar in north-east Mumbai, declared publicly that he would abduct girls and bring them to their spurned suitors, and even provided his phone number.
“You need anything, just come to me. If you have proposed to a girl and she has rejected you, I will help you 100 per cent. Come to me with your parents and say that they approve of her. Then, I will catch her and bring her to you,” Kadam told the gathering.
A video of the incident which went viral on Tuesday. But Kadam claimed he had been quoted out of context and the full video clip was not shown, and later, even blamed the media for blowing it out of proportion.
“I had no intentions to hurt anybody’s sentiments. But if I have done so, I regret it. Certain opponents are behind this misunderstanding,” Kadam said in a tweet.
As the issue snowballed, a group of women activists on Wednesday ‘gheraoed’ Education Minister Vinod Tawde while the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party organised noisy protests in the city, demanding action against the legislator.
In another development, a young Pune girl, Minakshi G Patil, threw an open challenge to Kadam, daring him to ‘touch’ her if he had the guts.
“I am throwing the gauntlet, accept it. Let’s settle this in person. I will come to Mumbai... Lay a finger on me and leave the rest to me. This is shameful and cheap, such statements have no place in Chhatrapati Shivaji’s Maharashtra where women are treated like Goddesses,” she said.
State Congress President Ashok Chavan asked, “Has the BJP made him a legislator to kidnap women?”
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, “The BJP’s ‘Ravan’ face has emerged. He is talking about kidnapping women. Henceforth, he should be called ‘Ravan Kadam’.” Senior Shiv Sena leader and spokesperson Neelam Gorhe said though he (Kadam) was named after Ram, he harboured evil thoughts like Ravan. Samajwadi President Abu Asim Azmi said BJP MLA’s speech was a clear indicator that the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign was a sham.
The NCP Women’s Wing demanded an unconditional apology from Kadam besides action against him by the BJP.