After making it to the headlines on Monday over some incredulous comments, BJP MLA Ram Kadam attempted to backtrack on Tuesday. In a widely-shared video, Kadam purportedly said he would help "abduct" a girl a boy likes even if she refuses his advances
"You can meet me for any work," he is heard addressing the crowd of mainly youngsters at a Dahi Handi event in Mumbai Ghatkopar area.
Kadam claimed he has received requests from youngsters to help them after girls rejected their advances. "I will help you 100 percent. Come (to me) with your parents. What will I do if parents approve? I will abduct the girl concerned and hand her over to you (for marriage)," he is heard telling the crowd in Marathi, sharing his mobile number, as well.
The controversial remark circulated in the video on social media drew sharp reactions from BJP's ally in Maharashtra Shiv Sena as well as Opposition parties. The Shiv Sena has sought an apology from Kadam and asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to take action against the MLA for making a statement that "threatens the safety of girls". The Congress called for Kadam's arrest, and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said his comment brought to the fore the "Ravana-like" face of the ruling party.
However, the BJP MLA from Ghatkopar claimed that his comments had been distorted. Speaking to ANI on Tuesday, Kadam said he had meant that every youth, irrespective of their gender, should marry after taking their parents into confidence.
"If there was something objectionable, the journalists there would have heard it. They didn't (report it) because they heard the entire speech and not just watch a short video. Opposition leaders are making a 40-second clip viral on Twitter. That's creating a wrong impression."
Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray said Kadam offering to marry off girls "against their will" indicated that the lawmaker believed "marriage is like forming a government". He tweeted:
One BJP MLA has offered from a stage to help boys kidnap girls and marry them even against the will of the girls. I guess he believes marriage is like forming a govt. Ashamed and disgraced that he sits in the legislative assembly of Maharashtra- a land of culture & women liberty
— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) September 4, 2018
Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said Kadam's remarks were unfortunate and condemnable. "The state government should immediately arrest him," he added.
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 in the Assembly will pose questions to him."
Maharashtra NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said, "What Kadam said has revealed the Ravana-like face of the BJP. Kadam said he would abduct a girl for a boy. Therefore, he should be called 'Ravana Kadam.'"
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