NCP leader R R Patil is no stranger to controversy (photo: Facebook)
The Maharashtra election is barely days away, yet senior NCP leader and former state home minister Raosaheb Ramrao Patil has sparked a controversy by allegedly trivialising rape. He reportedly said that Sudhakar Khade, a MNS candidate jailed on rape charges, should have waited for the election to get over before committing the crime.
“They (MNS supporters) told me that a rape case has been registered against him (Khade). If he wanted to contest and become an MLA, he should have committed rape after the elections,” Patil told his supporters at Sangli on Saturday.
Sharply reacting to Patil’s remark, BJP leader Shaina NC described the NCP leader as a “big joke”.
“After 26/11 (Mumbai terror attacks), he (Patil) made an insensitive comment suggesting ‘small incidents do happen in big cities’. Then, after Shakti Mill compound incident (gangrape of a woman journalist), he said should I give protection to all journalists.
“Now, in election mode, he (Patil) is trying to be cocky by suggesting that his counterpart in MNS should have raped after the elections. He has absolutely no conscience and no right to be in public life. He should be voted out on October 15 by the people,” Shaina said.
National Commission for Women chairperson Lalitha Kumaramangalam also criticised Patil and called his comments a 'reprehensible statement'.
“Strict action should be taken (against Patil),” Kumaramangalam told reporters.
With the controversy picking up speed, Patil claimed that he had made the comments in a sarcastic vein, and apologised if anybody felt hurt.
“If you hear my comment fully, you will understand in what context it was made. It was a sarcastic criticism of a rival candidate, who has a criminal background,” the former minister told PTI.
“The (MNS) candidate had a rape case registered against him in 2007. One more rape case was registered after he filed nomination. Earlier, he had been charged under Arms Act and for molestation,” Patil added.
The 57-year old politician has a history of making provocative and insensitive comments. After holding the Home portfolio for several years in the Congress-NCP state administration, Patil had to resign for his comments on the intelligence failure leading up to the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.
Earlier this week he blamed nudity in the media for the rising sexual crimes against women. Patil reportedly claimed that even if he deployed policemen in every household it would not stop rapes, since a majority of these crimes allegedly happen inside homes. He later blamed the media for distorting his comments.