Indian candidate booked for misogynist comment on rival

A veteran legislator of India’s Samajwadi (socialist) Party Azam Khan was booked on Sunday for his alleged misogynist comment on a candidate he is fighting against in the parliamentary elections from Rampur constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

Without naming the actor-turned-candidate and former party colleague Jaya Prada, above, Khan told an election rally that he brought “her” to Rampur and took care of her.

Khan claimed that while it took years for his party workers to realise where “her” loyalty lay, he knew within days it was with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as she was wearing “khaki underpants.”

By making the ‘khaki’ jibe, Khan was connecting “her” to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu cultural group ideologically linked to BJP. RSS cadres used to wear khaki shorts until 2016 when they switched to brown trousers.   

The National Commission for Women has sent a notice to Khan asking him to explain his comments which were caught on camera and aired by several TV stations.

It will also request the Election Commission to stop him from contesting the poll.

Jaya Prada said Khan should be barred from contesting the election since women will have no space in society if he wins.

She said this was not the first time he used derogatory remarks against her. While contesting for his party in 2009, he insulted and humiliated her, she said.

Protecting women is one of priorities listed by Khan’s party in its recently released election manifesto.

Jaya Prada questioned the silence of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav who shared the dais with Khan when the despicable remarks were made. She said Yadav may be fearing that his party may lose Muslim votes if he admonishes Khan for his remarks.  

Khan has denied any wrongdoing. The candidate said he did not call anyone by name adding that he would withdraw his candidature if proven guilty.

When asked about the unnamed woman, Khan said he was taking about an armed “man” who wanted to gun him down. Without identifying the “man”, Khan said he was wearing RSS trousers.

He accused media of twisting facts to create controversy.

As election campaigns hot up, candidates are resorting to calling names and threatening voters.