Jalna: BJP leader and former Maharashtra minister Babanrao Lonikar has called a woman tehsildar sitting on the stage a "heroine" during his speech on a planned rally of farmers in Jalna district.
After his audio clip went viral on social media, the BJP leader on Sunday defended his remarks, saying "heroine" is not an abusive word, and that he wanted to convey a "leader who does good work" through the term.
In the audio clip of the function held in Karhala village in Partur tehsil on Saturday, Lonikar can be heard saying, "If farmers want aid of Rs 25,000 from government, then we can plan the biggest rally in Marathwada here in Partur. We can involve 25,000 to 50,000 people in it. If Zilla Parisad and Panchayat Samiti members decide then we can have the biggest march in the state in Partur".
"We can call (former chief minister) Devendra Fadnavis, (former ministers) Chandrakant Patil and Sudhir Mungantiwar. You tell who should be called...We can call a heroine for it. If not, then we have our tehsildar madam as heroine," he said.
The tehsildar, who was present on the dais, immediately walked away after Lonikar's remarks. She could not be reached for comments despite repeated attempts. When contacted on Sunday, Lonikar said through the word "heroine" he wanted to convey a "leader who does good work".
"I have not insulted our tehsildar through my statement. The word heroine or hero is used for a leader who does good work. You can check a dictionary. This is not an abusive word and it does not have a negative meaning," he said, adding that 'We have planned to take out a rally over the issue of aid to farmers".
However, the ruling NCP said Lonikar's "unacceptable" remarks amount to outraging the modesty of a woman.
"Lonikar's comments against the woman tehsildar are completely unacceptable and it reflects the BJP's mentality. Instead of respecting the working women, the BJP leader is bringing shame to them by making comments on their looks," senior NCP leader and MLC Vidya Chavan said.
"Making such remarks about a woman's looks amount to outraging her modesty," she added.
The BJP blamed media for "twisting" Lonikar's statement. BJP spokesperson Shirish Boralkar said Lonikar was speaking about development of farmers. "His statement was presented in a twisted manner by the media," he added.
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Updated Date: Feb 03, 2020 09:49:19 IST