MUMBAI — A political storm erupted in Maharashtra on Monday as a ruling Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena (BSS) Minister Abdul Sattar allegedly used foul words against Nationalist Congress Party MP Supriya Sule, the daughter of veteran leader Sharad Pawar.
The NCP workers and leaders mounted massive protests in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Aurangabad, Solapur and other places demanding the sacking of the Minister and the resignation of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde.
Rattled by the possible fallout of the agitation, with Shiv Sena-UBT, Congress leaders as also Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) slamming the government, Shinde is understood to have called up Sattar and given him an earful.
Political sources said that the CM even ordered Sattar to call up and personally apologise to Sule and end the matter, as some BJP leaders also commented on the issue.
Earlier, while attacking the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) for its ongoing shrill ‘Khokha’ (slang for Rs 1 crore), Sattar seemingly lost control and used certain disrespectful words against Sule.
He was apparently responding to Sule’s allegations hinting at how the Shiv Sena rebels had allegedly taken ’50 Khokhas’ to bring down the erstwhile MVA government in June.
Sattar’s utterances enraged the NCP activists and many rushed to his ministerial home in Mumbai and his private residence in Aurangabad, staged protests, shouted slogans and pelted stones, smashing several window-panes.
NCP Women’s Wing leader Vidya Chavan demanded that Shinde must sack Sattar or seek his resignation within 24 hours failing which they would block his entry to Mantralaya.
The NCP has also written to the Director General of Police and the Maharashtra State Commission for Women demanding stringent action against Sattar.
NCP chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase lodged a complaint against Sattar MRA Marg police, and other activists filed complaints in various police stations in different parts of the state.
Elsewhere, NCP workers blackened or stoned pictures of Sattar, beat up his portraits with shoes, burnt his effigies, and demanded his dismissal from the ministry.
Senior NCP leader Dr. Jitendra Awhad said Sattar is a follower of Islam which always propounds respect for women and other women activists asked that by using such derogatory language, does the arrogant minister even deserve to be called a Muslim.
As the political heat turned up, Sattar went on the defensive, denying that he made any such utterances against Sule while claiming that he was only replying to those who are defaming the BSS with the “50 Khokha” allegations.
“However, if any woman feels that I have offended them in any manner, I hereby withdraw my words and also apologise. I am sorry,” Sattar airily told media persons, urging them not to stoke the flames any more.
Sena-UBT leaders like Aditya Thackeray called Sattar ‘Abdul Gaddaar’ (traitor), Sushma Andhare, Kishore Tiwari, NCP’s Clyde Crasto, MNS’ Sandeep Deshpande and Congress leaders attacked the BSS for his disrespectful language and demanded stringent action against the errant minister.
Chavan and other women leaders rejected the minister’s apology and said they would not settle for anything less than Sattar’s dismissal from the state cabinet.
Sattar retorted that though he said nothing objectionable, attempts were being made to defame and target him, and he would not be scared by demands for his sacking/ resignation. — IANS