The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and former home minister RR Patil while commenting on rival MNS candidate's criminal background said he should have committed rape at least after elections.
Patil's comments, caught on camera, sparked a major controversy with rivals lapping it up to turn the heat against Patil and NCP.
Patil has been facing a bitter electoral battle from Kawathe-Mahankal assembly constituency with BJP nominee Ajit Ghorpade posing a major challenge.
The controversial remarks made the by former home minister came on Thursday while he was addressing a public meeting in Kawathe-Ekand, in Sangli district.
In the meeting, Patil narrated morning's incident about his meeting with the supporters of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) candidate Sudhakar Khade.
According to Patil, these supporters had come to extend their support as Khade was behind the bars facing rape and molestation charges.
Addressing the crowd, Patil said, "Supporters of MNS candidate had come to meet me to extend their support since their own candidate is behind bars. I told them, if he wanted to contest elections to become a legislator, he should have committed rape at least after the elections."
Realizing that his remarks may cause immense damage especially when assembly elections are just four days away, Patil expressed regrets. "My comments were of satirical nature. I regret if anyone feels hurt. I have no intentions to insult women."
Patil added saying his comments were directed at MNS candidate who has criminal background. Khade, a history sheeter is contesting elections on MNS ticket though he was previously with Shiv Sena. Khade was first accused of rape in 2007. In 2011, he was charged in another rape and molestation case.
Criticizing Patil, Sanjay Patil, a BJP MP from Sangli said, "People like Patil have always taken names of Shahu-Phule-Ambedkar. Today they have been exposed before the society."
Found cornered over party nominee's criminal background, MNS leader Bala Nandgaonkar said, "Person at stature of RR Patil should have thought twice while commenting against MNS candidate who has been falsely implicated in criminal cases."
Previously too Patil was surrounded by controversy when his remarks in the aftermath of 26/11 Mumbai drew severe criticism. Patil was accused of downplaying the severity of attacks saying, "In big cities like this, small things do happen." His comments attracted flack eventually forcing him to resign as home minister.