Mahato claimed that he quoted the then state sports minister Bhaiyalal Rajwade, while Rajwade countered, saying Mahato quoted him out of context.
According to the report, Mahto said, "State sports minister Bhaiyalal Rajwade often tells me that there is no need for girls from Mumbai and Kolkata," as "Girls from Korba and girls of Chhattisgarh are now becoming tan-a-tan."
The remark faced a lot of flak, and several social media users criticized Mahto for his statement. Even the opposition parties demanded a public apology from the MP.
However, Bhaiyalal Rajwade completely denied making such a statement. Speaking to Times of India (TOI), Rajwade said that the MP "picked up a line from his earlier statement and quoted it out of context." Rajwade's spokesperson also told TOI that Rajwade implied there was no need to get artists from other states as "Chhattisgarh's youngsters are talented and capable."
Though the former state sports minister disassociated himself from the comment, Mahto made the remark quoting Rajwade.