After Yogi Adityanath and Mayawati, the Election Commission barred two more senior political leaders for violation of the Model Code of Conduct. Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan has been barred from campaigning for three days starting Tuesday for his "indecent and derogatory" comment against Jaya Prada. Another senior political leader, the BJP's Union minister Maneka Gandhi, has been barred from campaigning for 48 hours for communal comments. Maneka Gandhi, the BJP candidate from Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh, had asked a gathering of Muslims to vote for her, saying otherwise she might not be inclined to be responsive to their requests.
A FIR has been lodged against Samajwadi Party leader Mohd Azam Khan in Rampur for making objectionable remarks against actor-turned-politician Jaya Prada who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections on a BJP ticket.
The Rampur police have booked Khan under Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code for insulting the modesty of a woman.
Khan, while addressing a rally in his constituency on Sunday, had reportedly said: “It took you 17 years to identify the real face of these people but I got to know in 17 days that they (‘yeh’) wear khaki underwear.”
Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav was present at the rally where he made the remarks.
Union Minister Sushma Swaraj, in a tweet, asked Samajwadi patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav to take note of the statement.
“Mulayam bhai, you are the patriarch of the Samajwadi Party. In Rampur, Draupadi’s ‘cheer haran’ is happening in front of you. Don’t commit the mistake of staying silent like Bhishma Pitamah.”
The reference to Draupadi added fuel to the fire and Khan’s supporters claimed that it was the Union Minister who had insulted Jaya Prada by comparing her to the mythological character.
The National Commission of Women (NCW) has issued a notice to Azam Khan.
Citing news reports, the NCW said that the alleged remarks made by him were “offensive, unethical and show disrespect towards the dignity of women”.
NCW Under Secretary Barnali Shome said the Commission strongly condemns such irresponsible and disparaging remarks.
Meanwhile, a visibly upset Jaya Prada said on Tuesday that Azam Khan should not be allowed to contest elections after making such remarks.
“He should not be allowed to contest the elections because if this man wins, what will happen to democracy? There will be no place for women in society. Where will we go? Should I die? Will you be satisfied then? You think that I will get scared and leave Rampur but I will not leave,” she said.
Mohd Azam Khan, on the other hand, denied having taken the name of Jaya Prada while making the statement.
“I used the word ‘inhe’ and ‘uske’ and not even once did I take her name. One particular channel did mischief and added the lady’s name. I have the original recording and I am willing to face any court on the matter. The media should also behave responsibly while reporting facts,” he said on phone.
Meanwhile, Azam Khan stoked a fresh controversy on Monday when he asked people not to be afraid of officials.
“Do not be afraid of Collectors. You know that our alliance is with Mayawati. When we come to power I will make these Collectors clean her footwear,” he said at an election meeting.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) urged the Election Commission (EC) to take “strong and appropriate” action against Samajwadi Partys (SP) Azam Khan for his sexist and below-the-belt “khaki” comments on BJP rival Jaya Prada.
It also said that the comments are a violation of the EC’s model code of conduct (MCC).
Bringing Khan’s remarks to the notice of the EC in a letter, the NCW said that the SP leader made “sexist and below-the-belt ‘khaki’ comments on Jaya Prada, by saying that she will enthral the voters with her ghungaroos and thumkas”.
“Mr. Khan also circulated her morphed obscene pictures in the constituency, which amounts to crime under Section 509 and 354 of IPC (Indian Penal Code),” said the letter signed by NCW chief Rekha Sharma.
In the letter, the women’s rights body also said that Khan’s speech and behaviour amounts to violation of the MCC.
It quoted EC’s regulations: “No party or candidate shall include in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic.
“Criticism of other political parties, when made, shall be confined to their policies and programme, past record and work. Parties and Candidates shall refrain from criticism of all aspects of private life, not connected with the public activities of the leaders or workers of other parties. Criticism of other parties or their workers based on unverified allegations or distortion shall be avoided.”
Khan, who is contesting the ongoing Lok Sabha polls from Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur constituency, had said during a rally on Sunday that he “realised in 17 days that the underwear beneath is of the khaki colour”, while hinting at Jaya Prada, an actor-turned-politician and a two-time Member of Parliament (MP) from Rampur.
Videos, in which Khan is seen making the speeches, are doing rounds on social media and inviting strong reactions from across the country.
The SP leader later claimed that he never named Jaya Prada.
Earlier on Monday, the Commission had issued a notice to Azam Khan for his “extremely offensive, unethical” remarks and also asked the politician to provide a satisfactory explanation. (IANS)