Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur has denied that he touched a woman inappropriately after a video clip aired on local channels set off demands for his resignation on Thursday.
- Babulal Gaur was caught on camera touching a woman inappropriately
- He says he was merely patting the woman's back
- He has a record of sparking controversies with his off-the-cuff comments
Mr Gaur is seen in the video ushering people into a new low-floor bus that he flagged off in Bhopal. His gesture while steering a woman towards the bus was seized by channels.
The 85-year-old former Chief Minister denied allegations of impropriety and asserted: "There is no truth in the clipping. I only directed women workers to board the bus quickly as it was meant for them. Whatever I am saying is true."
Opposition parties like the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party have rubbished his explanation. "BJP talks about respecting women...what about the security of the women in Madhya Pradesh?" questioned Congress leader Mandvi Chouhan. AAP workers held protests outside the minister's home in Bhopal and demanded his resignation.
"Babulal Gaur should resign. Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan should look into the matter," said AAP spokesperson Neha Bagga.
Mr Gaur, a 10-time lawmaker, has an impressive record of off-the-cuff comments and controversies that have often embarrassed his party
Last June, he commented that drinking liquor is a "fundamental right" and a status symbol.
Before that, he was skewered after he shared an anecdote about a conversation with a politician's wife during a trip to Russia. He told party workers how, while discussing how to secure a dhoti, he told the woman that he "could teach her the art of draping a dhoti, but in private".
In 2014, he described rape as a "social crime" which was "sometimes right and sometimes wrong" - a comment the BJP distanced itself from. During a visit to Chennai, he suggested that "fewer rapes took place in South India since women in Tamil Nadu dress decently".