MP minister regrets 'upper caste women' remark

MP minister expresses regret over 'upper caste women' remark that sparked row

The minister said confusion over his statement could be due to the mixed use of a local dialect and Hindi in his speech

Madhya Pradesh Food and Civil Supplies Minister Bisahulal Singh. Credit: Twitter/@Bisahulal4BJP

Madhya Pradesh minister Bisahulal Singh on Saturday expressed regret over his statement about `upper caste' women, but it did not mollify the Shree Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena which staged a protest and demanded his resignation.

The minister, a tribal leader, claimed his statement had been misconstrued and he did not mean to offend anyone. Hours later, activists of the Karni Sena showed black flags to him by laying siege to his car outside the state BJP office here and demanded his resignation.

The protest continued for nearly half an hour following heated arguments between BJP and Karni Sena activists.

Congress MLA Jaivardhan Singh, who belongs to the Thakur community, lashed out at the BJP leader. “You are talking about pulling out women from homes, the history stands witness that we have not forgiven those who had raised their eyes at us," he said.

Notably, Bisahulal Singh was once known as a loyalist of Congress veteran and Jaivardhan's father Digvijaya Singh before he crossed over to the BJP last year.

At a function to felicitate some women in Anuppur district on Wednesday, the tribal leader had said, "Big people like Thakur, Thakar and some other big people keep their women confined to homes and don't let them go out," while "women (from the lower strata of society) in our villages work in the fields and also do household chores".

"Pull out the women of big people - Thakur from their homes. Will this not make them march ahead?" he had said.

Taking offense, the Karni Sena on Friday staged a protest and torched the minister's effigy.

On Saturday, Bisahulal Singh issued a statement saying he had no intention to hurt the Rajputs or any other community and claimed that some of his sentences were misinterpreted as he speaks in a mix of Hindi and a local dialect to his constituents. "Such unpleasant situation might have arisen due to mixed language, not pure Hindi. Everyone knows that I represent the tribal class and I was talking to the women of this section about their uplift," he said.

If the skilled and educated women from the upper class do not come forward to work, who would the women from backward sections of society follow and draw inspiration from, he asked. "There was no other intention and if my statement hurt the sentiments of Rajputs or any other section, I express regret," he added.

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