Congress leader and a former Maharashtra minister Subodh Saoji on Thursday allegedly announced a reward for anyone who "cuts off the tongue" of BJP MLA Ram Kadam, whose "would abduct the girl a boy has liked" statement triggered a huge controversy.
In a video of an event at Buldhana district, Saoji was purportedly heard saying that Kadam's statement was unbecoming of a legislator. "...And therefore, I am announcing a Rs 5 lakh reward for anyone who comes forward and cuts off his tongue. I strongly condemn him saying girls should be abducted," he purportedly said.
#WATCH: Former Maharashtra minister and Congress leader Subodh Savji says ‘I am announcing a Rs 5-lakh reward for anyone who chops off BJP MLA Ram Kadam’s tongue. I strongly condemn him saying girls should be abducted.' (06.09.18) pic.twitter.com/Y3h8AR7Vd1
— ANI (@ANI) September 7, 2018
The Maharashtra State Commission for Women has issued a notice to Kadam over his remark, seeking his reply.
In a big embarrassment for the ruling BJP in Maharashtra, one of its lawmakers on Tuesday courted a controversy by saying that he will kidnap a girl even if she refuses a proposal from a boy and help him elope with her. The controversial comments were made by BJP MLA Ram Kadam, who came under severe attack from ally Shiv Sena and other parties.
Kadam had made the controversial remarks at a 'dahi handi' event in his suburban Ghatkopar assembly constituency in Mumbai on Monday night. "You (youngsters) can meet me for any work," he had told a huge gathering of youngsters there.
A video clip of the event later surfaced in which Kadam can be seen saying that he was flooded with requests from youngsters to help them after girls rejected their proposal. "I will help, 100 percent. Come (to me) with your parents. What will I do if parents approve? I will kidnap the girl concerned and hand her over to you (for marriage)," he told the crowd in Marathi.
Kadam also reportedly shared his mobile number with the crowd. However, when quizzed about his controversial statement, Kadam said that his remarks were distorted.
''If there was something objectionable, there were several journalists and they would've paid attention. They didn't because they heard entire speech and not just a small video. Opposition leaders are making a 40-second clip viral on Twitter. That's creating a wrong impression,'' Kadam'said.
''I said that every youth, whether it's a boy or a girl, should marry after taking their parents into confidence. After saying this, I took a long pause and from the audience said something. I repeated that on mike and after that also, I spoke some more,''Kadam told ANI.
Demanding an apology from the MLA, the Shiv Sena asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is also the state's home minister, what action would be taken against Kadam for making a statement that "threatens the safety of girls". The Congress also called for Kadam's arrest, while the NCP that said his comments exposed "Ravana-like" face of the ruling party.
Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray took to Twitter to slam the MLA offering to marry off girls "against their will". "Ashamed and disgraced that he sits in the legislative assembly of Maharashtra- a land of culture & women liberty," he tweeted.
"Not just an outright apology from him, but I'd want to know from the Home Minister of Maharashtra what action will be taken for openly making such statements that threaten the safety of girls and offering safety to those wanting to kidnap them," he added.
Opposition Leader in Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said Kadam's remarks were unfortunate and condemnable. "The state government should immediately arrest him," he said.
State NCP chief Jayant Patil said, "Cases should be filed against Kadam if a girl is kidnapped in Maharashtra as the MLA himself is encouraging their kidnapping." "He should apologise. I am sure women members of the Assembly will pose questions to him," Patil said.
State NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said Kadam was speaking the language of abducting girls.