BJP’s Mumbai president Raj Purohit is in trouble after getting his party in a soup with his outburst against a college student from Thane who exposed a paani-puri vendor urinating in a utensil. The demand for his ouster is likely to be considered at a meeting of the party’s state executive on Monday.
While addressing a protest meeting of vendors who had faced a crackdown by the civic body after the media splashed stories about the vendor, Purohit reportedly launched a tirade against the girl and questioned her motive behind filming the man. Purohit’s statements were seen as an attempt to woo north Indian voters, as most chaat and paani-puri vendors in Mumbai are north Indians. But, the move seems to have backfired with angry reactions coming in from various quarters.
The MNS was quick to pick up the issue and demand action against Purohit. The student, Ankita Rane has even lodged a complaint with the police against Purohit for the derogatory remarks.
On Friday, the party distanced itself from Purohit’s remarks. “He has made the statements in his personal capacity and the party does not subscribe to them. But, if we receive frequent complaints of such behaviour against someone, I will not hesitate to remove the person from his post,” said state BJP president Sudhir Mungantiwar.
The controversy has left BJP’s strategists worried as it could damage the party’s reputation among Maharashtrian voters in the run-up to the crucial civic polls.
“We are already under threat of losing our Maharashtrian votes to the MNS,” said a key BJP leader. Monday’s meeting has been organised to discuss the party’s strategy for the coming civic polls with the party’s state in-charge Venkaiah Naidu.
The Sena-BJP is in power in the Mumbai civic body. However, the anti-incumbency sentiment caused by poor governance and a strong challenge by MNS is giving the parties nightmares. “In this situation, the last thing we want is a controversy. Purohit’s statements could damage us,” a senior corporator said.