A day after Rajasthan minister Rajendra Singh Gudha faced massive flak over a video of him saying that roads in his constituency should be like the cheeks of actor Katrina Kaif the BJP – in Opposition in the state – has called for “strict action” against him.
Attacking the minister over his bizarre comments, BJP spokesperson Ram Lal Sharma said, “Giving such a statement about women is indecent. The Chief Minister should take strict action. Culture and tradition of Rajasthan have not been such that a person sitting on a constitutional post gives such a statement.”
Rajendra Singh Gudha is the same leader who had during the Assembly polls said that he gave money to get a ticket and votes, news agency PTI quoted Mr Sharma as saying.
Mr Gudha was among the 15 ministers who took oath on Sunday in a major Cabinet reshuffle in Rajasthan and is one of the four newly-inducted Ministers of State.
The Congress MLA, who now holds the portfolio of Sainik Kalyan, Home Guards, Panchayati Raj, and Rural Development, was addressing people in his constituency when someone from the crowd complained about the state of the roads. He was then seen repeating the remark amid cheers from the audience.
In the purported video from the event, Mr Gudha was also heard saying that roads should be like the cheeks of Hema Malini but added that the actor is “too old”. He then went on to say roads should be like “Katrina Kaif’s cheeks”.
Several social media users called his comment inappropriate and have demanded a response from Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who has been highlighting women’s issues and promising more political representation for women in the upcoming Assembly elections.
This is not the first time such a remark has been made. Several ministers have in the past promised to build roads in their constituencies like actor-turned-politician Hema Malini’s cheeks.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in 2005 had allegedly claimed that the roads in Bihar will soon be turned “as smooth as Hema Malini’s cheeks”. Though in 2010, he denied ever having said it and accused his rivals of attributing the comment falsely to him.
In 2013, then Uttar Pradesh Khadi and Village Industry Minister Raja Ram Pandey had triggered a controversy by allegedly promising to get roads in the Pratapgarh district constructed “like cheeks of actresses Hema Malini and Madhuri Dixit”. He was later sacked by then Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for his comment.
In the same year, BJP leader and then Chhattisgarh Minister Brijmohan Agarwal had compared the state’s roads to actress Hema Malini.
Former Madhya Pradesh Law Minister PC Sharma in 2019 had compared the condition of roads in the state to the cheeks of BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya and said that the Congress government will make them like Hema Malini’s.
Mr Gudha had contested the Assembly elections on a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket and won from the Udaipurwati constituency. He is one of the five BSP MLAs who later quit the party and joined the Congress.