An MLA has landed in trouble after television cameras caught him wiping his hands on a former MP’s sari without her knowledge at a function in Madhya Pradesh.
The incident took place on Wednesday when Independent MLA Dinesh Rai and former Lok Sabha MP Neeta Pateriya shared the stage at a function in Seoni to distribute crop insurance money to farmers.
After TV channels repeatedly played the clip showing 44-year-old Rai wiping his hands on Pateriya’s sari, the MLA on Thursday tried to downplay the incident, saying he considered the former MP his bhabhi (sister-in-law), and that it was a “little prank”. But as criticism mounted, he was forced to apologise.
Pateriya, 51, initially said she was unaware of the MLA’s actions and said it was merely like a child playing a prank on his mother. Pateriya had defeated Rai in the 2008 Assembly elections.
Pateriya said his behaviour was objectionable and “he should have taken my permission if he wanted to use my pallu”.
She told The Indian Express that Rai called her twice to apologise, but she had left the decision (on whether or not to take legal action) to the BJP. The video clip also showed a few male politicians enjoying the MLA’s “prank”.
When contacted, Rai said, “I thought it was a little prank, but the media has maligned my character by depicting it in a different way. In the future, I will maintain a safe distance from all BJP workers and not enter their homes even to get rakhi tied lest I am accused of indecent behaviour.”
Saying that he will meet his supporters to discuss the incident, he added, “I will relinquish office if my voters feel I should… She (Pateriya) pardoned me first, but is now being instigated by BJP leaders in view of the upcoming municipal election.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines