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BJP MLA Ram Kadam courts controversy over girl kidnap statement

A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Ram Kadam from Mumbai’s Ghatkopar constituency landed in controversy on Monday night after he reportedly promised the young men attending his Dahi Handi festival that he would kidnap the girl they liked provided they wanted to marry the girl. The Opposition has called the statement outrageous and demanded action against Mr Kadam. Woman activists have also condemned Mr Kadam’s statement. The BJP leader made a statement in front of the youth gathered on Monday during the Dahi Handi festival. But in his clarification Mr Kadam said that his statement was in response to the comment from the public and was not his view.

Mr Kadam organised a Dahi Handi festival in his Assembly constituency Ghatkopar (West) in Northeast Mumbai. He wanted to tell the gathered crowd there that he is readily available for the itinerary. He dictated his number to the public.

Then a youth said to him, “Saheb, I propose to her but she is refusing. Please help me. (Someone shouts from crowd) ‘But it’s wrong.’” Kadam retorted: “I will help you in this for 100 per cent if your parents say the girl is ok. Then (again noise from the crowd) … I will pick her up and give her to you.”

A video clip of this statement went viral on Tuesday. It has come as another embarrassment for Mr Kadam. When contacted, Mr Kadam gave his version of the controversy. “I never wanted to say what is being interpreted. Somebody from the crowd shouted that whether I will pick the girl. I said, I would take permission of parents first. When the word permission is used, then how does picking the girl become a controversy? I didn’t say forcefully picking. I said with permission,” he clarified.

Meanwhile, the Opposition and women activists flayed the leader. “Mr Kadam, this is King Shivaji’ Maharashtra. Youth here respect women. So nobody will come to you for help,” slammed NCP state chief Jayant Patil. “Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also attended the festival there. Now, he should clarify whether we endorse this view,” Mr Patil added. Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil demanded action against Mr Kadam. “In the mythological period, Ravan had kidnapped Sita. But now, these people who use the name of Ram have thoughts of Ravan. This is sad. BJP must take action against him,” demanded Mr Vikhe-Patil.

Woman activist Kiran Moghe said that the statement shows Mr Kadam’s way of thinking. “This reveals the mindset of Mr Kadam. He sees woman as an object. This must be condemned and action should be taken against him,” said Ms Moghe.

Meanwhile, the state government’s minister of state for home Ranjit Patil distanced himself and his party from the controversy. “It’s his (Mr Kadam’s) personal view. Neither our party supports it nor government,” said Mr Patil.

Mr Kadam has been a controversial MLA since he elected for the first time in 2009. Then he was Maharashtra Navnirman Sena MLA. He was accused in beating Samajwadi Party’s Abu Azami in assembly during swearing in ceremony. He was suspended for two years from the house.

Mr Kadam was also accused in beating Police Inspector Sachin Suryavanshi in the assembly premises in 2012. He was accused with another MLA Kshitij Thakur.

He was also accused for beating political activists of Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh recently. That time, the protests were erupted across the state against him.

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