Rajasthan Minister Rajendra Singh Gudha has come under criticism after a video of him saying roads in his constituency should be like actor Katarina Kaif's cheeks went viral online. The recently appointed minister was addressing people in his constituency, Udaipurwati, when someone from the crowd complained about the state of the roads. He can be seen repeating the remark amid cheers from the audience.
The Congress MLA was just three days ago given the portfolio of Sainik Kalyan, Home Guards, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development during the recent cabinet reshuffle of the Ashok Gehlot led Rajasthan government.
Many social media users have called his comment inappropriate and have demanded a response from Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who has been highlighting women's issues and promising more political representation for women in the upcoming assembly elections.
This is not the first time such a remark has been made. Several ministers have in the past promised to build roads in their constituencies like actor-turned-politician Hema Malini's cheeks.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in 2005 had allegedly claimed that the roads in Bihar will soon be turned "as smooth as Hema Malini's cheeks". Though in 2010, he denied ever having said it and accused his rivals of attributing the comment falsely to him. He had reportedly said the remark was made by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee instead.
In 2013, then Uttar Pradesh Khadi and Village Industry Minister Raja Ram Pandey had triggered a controversy by allegedly promising to get roads in Pratapgarh district constructed "like cheeks of actresses Hema Malini and Madhuri Dixit". He was sacked by the then state CM Akhilesh Yadav for his comment.
In the same year, BJP leader and then Chhattisgarh PWD Minister Brijmohan Agarwal had compared the state's roads to actress Hema Malini. According to a news report in The Indian Express, his supporters kad issued full-page advertisements in a local magazine with pictures of the actress and the state's roads. "Swapn sundari samaan pradesh ki chamchamati sadken (Beautiful roads of the state shine like the Dream Girl)," said the advertisement.
Former Madhya Pradesh Law Minister PC Sharma had made a similar remark in 2019. He had compared the condition of roads in the state to the cheeks of BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya and said that the Congress government will soon make them like Lok Sabha MP Hema Malini's.
"Roads in Madhya Pradesh were built like that of Washington. What has happened to these roads now? After heavy rain, there are potholes everywhere. Presently, the condition of roads is like stains of smallpox. It seems that the condition of the roads has become like Kailash Vijayvargiya's cheeks," he told reporters in Bhopal.
"These roads will be repaired within 15 days on the orders of Chief Minister Kamal Nath. Very soon we will make these roads like cheeks of Hema Malini," he had said.
Chhattisgarh Commercial Tax (excise) and Industry Minister Kawasi Lakhma of Congress had made the same remark in 2019. He equated roads in his Konta assembly constituency with "cheeks" of actress-turned-politician Hema Malini.