Sangli (Maharashtra), Oct 11 :
Former Maharashtra Home minister R.R. Patil landed in a controversy at an election rally Saturday when he said: “If the candidate wanted to become a legislator, he should have waited till the elections and then raped…”
This piece of wisdom by Patil sent his Nationalist Congress Party scurrying for cover.
Following the statement, political parties and social activists termed it “as an insult to women” of the state.
Shortly, thereafter, an apologetic Patil said he regretted the faux pas and that his statement was unintended.
“I was criticising the candidate… I had no intention to offend womenfolk and I apologise if anybody’s sentiments are hurt,” he said.
It happened when some activists of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) extended support to Patil for the Oct 15 assembly elections.
Pleased but puzzled, Patil apparently asked them the reason for their sudden generosity, barely days before the state polls.
The MNS activists confessed that their official candidate was behind bars allegedly for involvement in a rape case.
“Oh! If he wanted to be elected legislator from this area, he could have at least waited till the elections and then raped…” Patil blurted out.
Later, the normally soft-spoken and measured Patil sought to defend himself saying the MNS candidate had been booked a few years ago in another alleged rape offence, but it failed to cut ice with many.
Five years ago, after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, Patil had raised hackles when he said: “Aise bade bade shehron me, chhote chhote haadse hote rehte hain…” (In big towns like Mumbai such small incidents keep on happening) before he apologised.
In April 2013, another NCP leader and ex-deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, following drought-hit farmers’ demand for water, had said: “What can I do if there is no water in the dams? Should I urinate to fill up the dams? Without water, even urine is not coming…”
Subsequently, following a nationwide hue and cry, he apologised for poking fun at farmers’ plight.