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Ex-BJP minister calls woman tehsildar 'heroine', sparks row

Ex-BJP minister calls woman tehsildar heroine, sparks row

Aurangabad: BJP leader and former Maharashtra minister Babanrao Lonikar has landed in a spot after an audio clip surfaced on social media in which he purportedly called a woman tehsildar a "heroine" during his speech, although he did not take anybody's name.

During his speech at a function in Karhala village of Partur tehsil in Maharashtra's Jalna district on Saturday, he also said that a "heroine can be roped in" for a planned farmers' rally.

The comments by Lonikar invited ruling NCP's ire, with the party saying that his "unacceptable" remarks amount to outraging the modesty of a woman.

However, Lonikar defended the use of the word saying that 'heroine' was not an abusive term and he only wanted to convey through it "leader who does good work".

In the audio clip of his speech, Lonikar can be heard saying, "If farmers want aid of Rs 25,000 from government, then we can plan the biggest rally in Marathwada here in Partur. We can involve 25,000 to 50,000 people in it. If Zilla Parisad and Panchayat Samiti members decide then we can have the biggest march in the state in Partur."

"We can call (former chief minister) Devendra Fadnavis, (former ministers) Chandrakant Patil and Sudhir Mungantiwar. You tell who should be called...We can call a heroine for it. If not, then we have our tehsildar madam as heroine," he said.

When contacted on Sunday, Lonikar said that through the word 'heroine', he meant to say "leader who does good work".

"I have not insulted our tehsildar through my statement. The word heroine or hero is used for a leader who does good work. You can check the dictionary. This is not an abusive word and it does not have a negative meaning," he said.

"We planned to take out a rally over the issue of aid to farmers," he added.

BJP spokesperson Shirish Boralkar said that Lonikar was speaking about development of farmers. "His statement was presented in a twisted manner by the media," he added.

Senior NCP leader and MLC Vidya Chavan criticised Lonikar for his remarks.

"Lonikar's comments against the woman tehsildar are completely unacceptable and it reflects the BJP's mentality. Instead of respecting the working women, the BJP leader is bringing shame to them by making comments on their looks," she alleged.

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