Rampur, Uttar Pradesh:
Samajwadi Party candidate Azam Khan, caught on camera making disgusting comments while railing against his BJP rival Jaya Prada in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur constituency, said today that he will not contest the elections if anyone can prove that he named the actor-turned-politician when he said , “…the underwear beneath is of the khakhi colour.” A First Information Report or FIR has been filed against him in Rampur for “insulting” the modesty of a woman.
Jaya Prada today came back sharply saying Azam Khan should not be allowed to contest polls. “It isn’t new for me. You might remember that I was a candidate from his party in 2009, when no one supported me after he made comments against me…if this man wins, what will happen to democracy? …Should I die, then you’ll be satisfied? You think that I’ll get scared and leave Rampur? But I won’t leave,” Jaya Prada said.
“I will not contest the polls if proven guilty…I haven’t named or insulted anyone and I know what I should say,” Azam Khan told news agency ANI on the crude remarks at an election rally on Sunday. “I was a nine-time MLA from Rampur and have been a minister. I know what to say,” the SP leader said in a retreat following outrage and condemnation of his comments.
Azam Khan claimed he made the remarks in the context of a “man” who had apparently said that “he brought 150 rifles with him” and if he sees Azam Khan, he would shoot him. Without naming who he was referring to Azam Khan said, “Now, it has been revealed that he has an RSS pant on his body. Shorts are worn by men.”
The SP leader had said on Sunday, “…I want to ask you, should politics stoop so low? 10 years the person sucked the blood of Rampur , I held that person’s finger and brought the person to Rampur. I made her familiar with the streets of Rampur . I didn’t let anyone touch her. No dirty words were used. You made the person your representative for 10 years . But what is the difference between you and me. Rampur waalon , Hindustan waalon , uski asliyat samajhne main aapko 17 baras lag gaye (understanding the person’s real face you took 17 years). I realised in 17 days, that the underwear beneath is of the khakhi colour.” Azam Khan’s remarks were widely interpreted as targeted at Jaya Prada, who last week alleged that she left Rampur after her “indecent images” were circulated and attempts were made to attack her with acid.
“I told Mulayam Singh Ji that my indecent images are being circulated in Rampur, save me. But no politician tried to save me,” Jaya Prada claimed. She broke down alleging, “I left Rampur and active politics because they tried to attack me with acid.” Later composing herself, she continued: “For the first time, I have the strength of the BJP behind me. I don’t want to cry like before. I have the right to live, and I will, to serve you.”
Jaya Prada, last week broke down on stage and said she was forced to leave Rampur because of Azam Khan
The BJP and its ally Janata Dal United strongly criticised Azam Khan’s remarks. “This type of language is unacceptable…using such words for women is shameful, we condemn this statement. Azam Khan should apologize,” demanded senior JD(U) leader Pawan Verma.
Senior BJP leader and union minister Sushma Swaraj took to Twitter and drew an analogy from Mahabharata when Draupadi was being disrobed. She asked Mulayam Singh Yadav, founder of Samajwadi Party and former UP chief minister, not to make the “mistake” of staying silent just like Pitamah Bhishma, when Draupadi was disrobed by Duryodhana in Mahabharata.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi condemned Azam Khan’s remarks. “Statement of Azam Khan on Jaya Prada represents ugly and cheap standards. Such statements are derogatory for the health of a vibrant democracy. Hope that the Election Commission and Akhilesh Yadav would take cognizance and ensure action,” Mr Singhvi said.
The National Commission for Women has sent a notice to the SP leader. “Absolutely disgraceful. Azam Khan is always abusive and disrespectful towards women…We are writing to the Election Commission to take strict action against him because he has to learn a lesson now. It’s high time, he stops this. Women are not sex objects,” said the panel’s chairperson Rekha Sharma.
Jaya Prada had won the Rampur Lok Sabha seat in 2004 and 2009 on a Samajwadi Party ticket but later she was expelled for alleged anti-party activities in 2010. She joined the BJP last month. Her ties with Azam Khan, who had helped her in 2004, turned sour over the years, generating much bitter words and below-the-belt attacks.
Uttar Pradesh is voting for the 80 Lok Sabha seats in all seven phases. Eight seats in the state went to polls in the first phase on April 11. Rampur is voting in the third phase along with several high profile constituencies including Moradabad, Firozabad, Mainpuri, Pilibhit, Badaun, Sambhal, Etah, Bareli and Aonla.
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