PUNE: Senior BJP leader and Guardian Minister Girish Bapat courted yet another controversy by passing objectionable comments about women while speaking at a public function in Pune.
This is second time in the last one week that Bapat has caused embarrassment to the government with his remarks. Last week, Bapat had said during a pomegranate farmers’ meeting in Pune, “Whatever you plan to seek from us, seek it now because the government will change next year. I will not discuss what is going to happen next at this forum, but I know what is going to happen.”
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was reportedly disappointed with Bapat after his remark and the chief minister’s disappointment was reflected in the cabinet meeting last week, where Fadnavis was spotted avoiding Bapat.
On Friday, Bapat, while speaking at a function on National Youth Day, which is Swami Vivekananda’s birth anniversary, in SNDT Girls School, said, “When Swamiji was on a tour to a foreign country, a girl was impressed with his personality and speeches and expressed her desire to marry him. Vivekananda’s time was not like present days, where girls easily agree to go with a boy (toh kal ajchyasarkha navta, chal mhatle ki chalali).”
This is not the first time Bapat has courted controversy. On September 14, 2015, Bapat triggered a controversy by making a remark about watching ‘video clips at night’ during a students’ convention in Pune, which left his party and the government red-faced, besides giving fodder to the party’s detractors. A police complaint was also been filed over the alleged obscene remark by Bapat. “We also watch those clips which you see on your mobiles at night. Do not think we have become old. We are still young at heart,” Bapat had said while addressing a function organised for students preparing for competitive examinations.
Now, Bapat’s rivals within the party have got another opportunity to corner him. As BJP is preparing for the 2019 assembly elections, functionaries feel that such comments by a senior minister adversely affects morale of the party cadre. Thus, moves to alienate Bapat have begun within the party.