The run-up to the state assembly elections was not without its share of mud-slinging. From Azam Khan, who compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the mythical Hindu demon god Ravana, to Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, who said Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was no different from much-defiled Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, a look at some politicians who made controversial remarks that — at times — ended up annoying the election commission.
The Unnao MP made a controversial statement on January 6 that Hindus were not responsible for the population explosion in India. He, instead, chose to blame members of another community that supports “the concept of four wives and 40 children” – an oblique reference to Muslims – for the unwelcome phenomenon. Following this, the election commission sought a detailed report from the Meerut district administration.
The Samajwadi Party’s candidate from Rampur courted controversy on February 5, when he compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the mythical demon king Ravana. Without taking Modi’s name, Khan said “the king who rules over 130 crore Indians goes to Lucknow to burn the effigy of Ravana, but he forgets that the biggest Ravana lives in Delhi”.
On March 6, the BJP MP from Gorakhpur likened Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to Mughal emperor Aurangzeb and mythological tyrant Kans because his government “patronises terrorists, anti-socials and rapists”. Addressing an election rally in Bhadoi, he said: “Akhilesh did what Aurangzeb and Kans did not do. Due to his misdeeds, parents will now desist from naming their sons after him.”
The BJP MP triggered a controversy on January 25 by saying that if Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Vadra could get votes for her “beauty”, his party also had many “beautiful” people. “There are many beautiful star campaigners. There are many heroines and artistes who are more beautiful (than Priyanka),” Katiyar said, a day after the Congress included Vadra’s name in the list of campaigners for the Uttar Pradesh assembly election. The Congress demanded an apology from Katiyar for the sexist comment.
Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti
On January 4, the Union minister compared Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav to Mughal emperor Aurangzeb for removing his father, Mulayam Singh Yadav, from the post of Samajwadi Party national president. At a press conference in Ballia, she said Akhilesh is popular in advertisements but not in his own family. After securing his position as the emperor of the Mughal empire, Aurangzeb had confined his father – Shah Jahan – to Agra Fort.
This BJP MLA, who contested the elections from Thana Bhawan, created a controversy on January 28 by saying that he would clamp a curfew on Kairana, Deoband and Moradabad — three Muslim-majority towns in Uttar Pradesh — if voted to power. After a case was registered against him for allegedly trying to incite the people, Rana defended his statement by saying that his remarks were meant for “goons who spread terror in the state”.
The BJP candidate from Sardhana was booked by the Uttar Pradesh police on January 18 for exhibiting a ‘riot clipping’ during the election campaign. He was charged with instigating communal hatred in his constituency. However, Som – an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots – denied that any “objectionable content” was shown during his campaign.