Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday said he had warned a ministerial colleague for making a controversial statement about “upper-caste women”.
Tribal leader and Minister Bisahulal Singh had kicked up a storm while speaking about women and their chores in the backdrop of societal strata while addressing a gathering in the state’s Anuppur district on Wednesday.
“Big people like Thakur, Thakar, and others keep their women confined to homes and don’t let them go out,” the minister had said, adding, “Women (from the lower strata of society) in our villages work in the fields and do household chores.”
“Pull out the women of big people – Thakur from their homes. Will this not make them march ahead?” he had asked.
In a statement issued today, Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan said, “I had just called Bisahulal Singh ji. He has publicly apologised for his statement. Whatever the sentiment, the message should not go wrong. Every word should be spoken carefully. I have warned that such statements should not be given under any circumstances.”
Mr Chouhan further said that expressing such feelings, that send a wrong message to the people, will not be forgiven whoever the person may be, adding that “respect of mother, sister, and daughter is paramount for the BJP, its government and for me”.
State BJP president VD Sharma also apologised for the tribal leader’s statement, calling it unfortunate.
“It is unfortunate. This should not have happened. If his (Bisahulal Singh’s) statement hurts the sentiments of any section of the society, as state party president, I apologise on behalf of the party,” Mr Sharma told reporters.
Bisahulal Singh, who had apologised earlier as well, issued a video apology during the day.
The statement had earned the ire of the Shree Rajput Karni Sena, which had burnt an effigy of the minister on Friday and had encircled his car, showing him black flags on Saturday.
Congress MLA Jaivardhan Singh, a Thakur, had condemned the statement, incidentally a one-time loyalist of the former’s father and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh.
Bisahulal Singh had crossed over from the Congress to the BJP last year.