Raja Ram Pandey said at a function that he wanted roads in his district to be like the cheeks of Hema Malini and Madhuri Dixit

Cracking the whip for the first time on errant Ministers, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav late on Saturday night sacked Khadi and Gramudyog Minister Raja Ram Pandey for allegedly making derogatory remarks against women. This is the second time in the last two months the Minister has made such remarks and the Chief Minister, it seems, has run out of patience.

Though no official explanation has been given for Mr. Pandey’s ouster, sources said that the Minister’s sexist remarks at a function in Pratapgarh on Friday cost him his chair.

The Samajwadi Party government is already under fire for the illegal detention of a 10-year-old girl in a police lock-up in Bulandshahr and the Minister’s comments further embarrassed the government.

Talking to newsmen after a function in his home district of Pratapgarh, the Minister reportedly said he would like the roads of his district to be like the “cheeks of Hema Malini and Madhuri Dixit,” two yesteryear Bollywood actresses. The Minister reportedly likened the upkeep of roads to facial done by women.

When the news was flashed on Saturday, the Minister’s comments were vehemently protested by several women organisations. Informed sources said the Chief Minister took strong exception to the comments and decided to give Mr. Pandey the sack. The Khadi and Gramudyog portfolio has been kept by Mr. Yadav.

Mr. Pandey had earlier landed in trouble when, at a public function in Sultanpur, he praised the district magistrate for her beauty. He was served a notice by the State Women’s Commission, but managed to wriggle out of the controversy by saying that praising a woman for her beauty was no crime.