A minister in the Devendra Fadnavis government has sparked a controversy by suggesting that a feminine brand name would boost the sale of liquor. The remark was made by Maharashtra Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan at an event.
“You said there is less liquor sale. That’s why I asked you what’s the name of your brand, you said Maharaja, so how would the sale increase, rename it as Maharani, and just see,” he said at a public event.
He added, “Same is the case with tobacco, their names are Kamal, Vimal, Suman. Products named after female have more sale.”
Following this a woman trade union leader, Paromita Goswami, filed a complaint against the minister in Chandrapur.
Goswami, president of Shramik Elgaar, an unorganised sector labour union, lodge a complaint at Mul police station in Chandrapur. She said the minister had “insulted” women with his remark.
“I was simply taken aback by the statement by none other than a minister (Mahajan) and have lodged a police complaint,” she said, threatening to launch a protest if the police did not register an FIR against the minister.
The minister, however, later apologised, saying he did not intend to hurt the sentiments of women.
“I regret my remarks. I express my apologies. It wasn’t my intention to hurt women’s sentiments,” Mahajan, the state’s water resources minister, told reporters in Mumbai.
Noting that he had made the remark “in a lighter vein”, he said it was an “unintentional mistake”.
The Shiv Sena also attacked the Maharashtra minister over his remark, terming it as “unfortunate”. In an editorial in Saamna, the party pointed that the minister had made the remark even after knowing that women are protesting against sale of liquor in several parts of the state.
The article also cited the example of Bihar, pointing that despite their differences, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had supported Chief Minister Nitish Kumar over his liquor prohibition move. “But in Maharashtra, a BJP minister is giving suggestions on how to increase alcohol sale.”