Uttar Pradesh Khadi and Village Industry Minister Raja Ram Pandey, who triggered a controversy by promising to get roads in Pratapgarh district constructed as smooth as the cheeks of actress Hema Malini, has been sacked. Governor B L Joshi, in consultation with Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, has relieved Pandey from his post.

Though Laloo Prasad Yadav has denied it, he remarked in 2005 that Bihar’s roads would be as chikna (smooth) as Hema Malini’s cheeks. Yadav had been under attack for the lack of infrastructural development and bad roads.

At that time, Yadav did not face any action. Instead, there were retaliating jibes that stated that the roads of Bihar resembled Om Puri’s cheeks.

Pandey has received a sharp rap on the knuckles for his inane, sexist comment by being sacked. Party leaders seem to have woken up to the reality of the age, where mistakes (which often come in the form of verbal gaffes) can be amplified a 100 times in the social media.

Comments like these only hurt the party image and sometimes do permanent damage. Because of the all-pervasive nature of Twitter, Facebook and other networks, it is getting increasingly difficult for our loose-lipped, politically incorrect netas to live down these comments.

Backtracking furiously and saying that comments have been misconstrued is of little help. The sacking sends a strong message to all those who shoot from the lip without realisings the consequences or the impact of what they spew. The bottom line is clear: look before you leap, think before you speak.