Speaking at a function at Bhokardan in Jalna district, Pawar said rapists deserved no mercy and should be hanged.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar. Pic: Krunal Gosavi 

Reacting to the senior NCP leader's remarks, opposition Shiv Sena alleged he was making such statements in a bid to divert attention from the failure of the state government under Congress-NCP combine in curbing crime against women.

"Ajit Pawar has made this statement in a bid to divert the state government's failure. It is a poor attempt by him," said Shiv Sena spokesperson Neelam Gorhe.

In a veiled reference to Pawar junior's previous "urination" remark which he had made in the context of drought in the state earlier this year, Gorhe said, "On earlier occasion also the NCP leader had made aggressive statements which proved hazardous".

Pawar's remark had caused a flutter and perceived as disdainful to farmers, prompting him to apologise later. Terming Pawar's statement is a mere eyewash, Gorhe said,

"The government should instead answer real issues like poor conviction rate and non-implementation of laws related to women security."