During a joint press conference with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav took a sizeist, sexist dig at Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati.
At the launch of the Congress-Samajwadi Party (SP) alliance at Lucknow, a journalist asked Yadav about whether BSP could have been part of the equation.
Answering the question, CM Yadav replied sarcastically:
(How could we have given space to her [Mayawati]? She takes so much space, even her party symbol is that of an elephant.)
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Gandhi on the other hand limited his remarks to saying that Mayawati had made some mistakes when she was in power, but she was not 'dangerous', like the BJP. He also said that he respected her 'immensely'.
However, after reports on his remark started circulating, CM Yadav sent out the following statement, denying any such speech:
"There have been incorrect reports in the media that UP CM Akhilesh Yadav made a derogatory remark on BSP chief Mayawati. We strongly and unequivocally deny them. The CM's comments have been taken out of context. Akhilesh Yadav did not name Mayawati at all as some media articles are falsely reporting. The chief minister implied that BSP, in case of political alliances, asserts for a large number of seats which leaves little for alliance partners. Akhilesh Yadav has always been polite and respectful towards one and all, especially those senior to him and women in particular."
Last week, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha member Vinay Katiyar had responded to the growing anticipation around Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's role in the Congress Party's campaign in Uttar Pradesh, by saying, "There are many other girls/women more beautiful than her who are star campaigners. There are heroines, there are artists, they are more beautiful (sic)."
In a similar instance, Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav had made a shocking remark about the "honour of a daughter" on 24 January, saying:
"Beti ki izzat se vote ki izzat badi hai (the honour of a vote is higher than the honour of a daughter)". He then proceeds to give a seriously disturbing rationale by saying, "If the honour of the daughter goes then the honour of the village/mohallah goes, but if you sell your vote then the whole nation loses its honour and all our future dreams vanish."
In July 2016, BJP's Dayashankar Singh had compared Mayawati to a prostitute. "Even a prostitute fulfils her contract. But Mayawati sells party tickets to the highest bidder," he had said.
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