Maharashtra minister’s ‘advice’ to name liquor brand after women draws criticism
Girish Mahajan, a BJP leader, sought to control the damage, saying he would apologise for his “first mistake in a political career spanning more than 25 years”.mumbai Updated: Nov 05, 2017 22:49 IST
Maharashtra medical education minister and senior BJP leader Girish Mahajan has come under fire from women activists and opposition parties who have demanded an apology from him after he advised a sugar factory to name its liquor brand after women for higher sales.
Mahajan’s faux pas came on Saturday when he was inaugurating the crushing season of Satpuda sugar factory in Nandurbar, about 300 km northeast of the state capital. Sugar factories often set up distilleries for the production of liquor from the molasses generated in the process of producing sugar.
Citing examples of the brands by some of the factories in western Maharashtra, the minister said the Satpuda factory should have named its liquor brand as Maharani instead of Maharaja. He said factories in Kolhapur and Sangli have named their liquor brands Julie, Bhingari and Bobby, and were doing good business.
His comments drew sharp reaction from activists and the opposition. Social activist Paromita Goswami ,of NGO Shramik Elgar, filed a complaint against the minister in Mul Police station in Chandrapur district of Vidarbha. She demanded the case be registered under sections 504 and 509 of IPC for public provocation and insulting the modesty of women. The police are checking the legal standing of the complaint before registering it.
Mahajan sought to control the damage, saying he would apologise for his “first mistake in a political career spanning more than 25 years”.
“It was a statement made in a lighter mood in response to the complaint by the factory members about poor sales. I have personally seen the response to the brands of the factories run by senior politicians such as Shankarrao Kale and Kolhe in western Maharashtra. Having said that, I admit it was an unintentional mistake and I should not have said it. I am issuing an apology tomorrow,” Mahajan told HT.
The women’s wing of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) held a protest against Mahajan in Nashik and burnt his effigies. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) also demanded an immediate apology by the minister.
“It represents the mindset of male politicians and the way they view women. It is a shameful statement in a progressive state like Maharashtra which has the legacy of Mahatma Phule and Chhatrapati Shahu Mahraj. Mahajan should immediately apologise for the statement,” Pratibha Shinde, social activist from Nandurbar, said.
Mahajan is no stranger to controversies. He had reportedly attended the wedding ceremony of a relative of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim earlier this year. He also invited criticism for attending a function meant for children with hearing and speech disabilities, with his revolver tucked at his waist, visible to everyone.