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#RespectWomen: When Azam Khan used 'Khaki Underwear' remark to attack Jaya Prada

A controversy has erupted after Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala allegedly made "sexist" remarks aimed at BJP MP Hema Malini, swiftly condemned by the BJP. The incident reflects broader issues of misogyny in Indian politics.

Nitin Kumar Edited By: Nitin Kumar @Niitz1 New Delhi Updated on: April 04, 2024 15:54 IST
Azam Khan
Image Source : INDIA TV Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan

New Delhi: Controversy erupted on Wednesday as Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala allegedly made "sexist" remarks directed at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Hema Malini. The BJP swiftly condemned Surjewala's comments, accusing the Congress of displaying misogyny and disrespect towards women. Amit Malviya, head of the BJP's IT cell, shared an undated video on the X platform purportedly showing Surjewala making objectionable comments about Hema Malini during a public event. Malviya described the remarks as "vile, sexist, demeaning, and derogatory," not only towards Hema Malini but towards women in general.

Such derogatory remarks against women in Indian politics are not a recent development. The longstanding rivalry between Jaya Prada and Azam Khan, spanning over a decade, escalated with below-the-belt comments by Khan against Prada. Former allies turned adversaries, Jaya Prada and Azam Khan's feud dates back to Prada's tenure as a Samajwadi Party (SP) MP and Khan's stint as a Uttar Pradesh minister. Their once-cooperative relationship soured during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, leading to bitter confrontations and mutual allegations.

"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. I'm a woman, and I can't even repeat what he said. I don't know what I did to him that he is saying such things," Jaya Prada was quoted as saying by the news agency ANI at that time.

"He shouldn't be allowed to contest elections. Because if this man wins, what will happen to democracy? There'll be no place for women in society. Where will we go? Should I die, then you'll be satisfied? Do you think I'll get scared and leave Rampur? But I won't leave," she said.

Below-the-belt remarks spark controversy

The feud took a crass turn when Khan made derogatory remarks about Prada's undergarments at a public rally, triggering outrage and resulting in an FIR against him. His comments insinuated a connection between Prada's political affiliations and her choice of undergarments, drawing widespread condemnation.

"I brought her (Jaya Prada) to Rampur. You are a witness that I did not allow anyone to touch her body. It took you 17 years to identify her real face but I got to know in 17 days that she wears khaki underwear," Khan had said while addressing a campaign rally in Rampur on Sunday.

A history of political manoeuvring

Prada's entry into politics was facilitated by Khan, who supported her successful Lok Sabha bid in 2004. However, their alliance fractured amidst allegations of sabotage and personal attacks during subsequent elections. Prada accused Khan of circulating morphed images and employing underhanded tactics to undermine her candidacy.

Mutual accusations and retaliation

The feud intensified as both engaged in verbal sparring and exchanged barbs in public forums. Prada likened Khan to the antagonist of a Bollywood film, citing his alleged harassment during electoral campaigns. In response, Khan dismissed Prada's political aspirations and questioned her credibility as a public figure.

Escalating tensions and legal wrangles

Accusations of misconduct and intimidation have marred the electoral contest in Rampur, with Prada alleging attempted acid attacks and threats from Khan. The legal recourse has been pursued, with Prada filing complaints against Khan, further exacerbating the already strained relations between the contenders.



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