"People say farmers commit suicide because they drink...This is not correct... who doesn't drink alcohol? Seventy-five per cent MLAs, MPs, journalists drink. Hema Malini drinks every day but she didn't commit suicide?" Mr Kadu, originally Omprakash Babarao, remarked, speaking to reporters in Nanded on Thursday after addressing a rally.
"Actually, farmers commit suicide because of the shortage of money. Their productivity is increasing but not their income," he continued, stressing that it was wrong to link the suicides to drinking.
But everything he said was overshadowed by the reference to Hema Malini, a legendary actor who is BJP's parliamentarian from Mathura in Uttar Pradesh.
Maharashtra accounted for more than half the 5,650 farmer suicides in India in 2014, according to official data. Reports suggest 200 farmers have committed suicide only in the Marathwada region this year.
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