The rising ‘youth icon’ of secular Bharatiya politics, Akhilesh Yadav, made a crude body shaming remark on his political opponent & BSP chief Mayawati (who also happens to be a Dalit), while addressing a press conference alongside his alliance partner and fellow ‘youth icon’ 46-year-old Rahul Gandhi.
When asked by reporters whether BSP too could have been included in the ‘secular’ alliance which has seen SP-Congress join forces for the upcoming UP 2017 assembly election, Akhilesh said “Jagah kaise de dete unhe?Kitni jagah leti hain vo, unka toh chunav chinh hathi hai”
“How could we give her (Mayawati) space? She occupies so much space. Even her party’s election symbol is an elephant”
Rahul Gandhi, who was sitting beside Akhilesh when he made the distasteful jibe, was seen smiling and did nothing to dissociate himself from the comment.
Jagah kaise de dete unhe?Kitni jagah leti hain vo, unka toh chunav chinh hathi hai: Akhilesh Yadav on if BSP would've been part of alliance pic.twitter.com/90YbtMW5Nu
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) January 29, 2017
This was yet another example of how ‘secular’ politicians are held to entirely different standards and given a free pass by a benevolent media, while the evil ‘Sanghis’ (i.e. the communal Hindutvawadis) are grilled endlessly for real and imagined gaffes.
But social media, being the democratic space for voicing one’s opinion, does not have the same filters and self-censorship which are all too common in mainstream media. Many called out Akhilesh for his body-shaming comment, as well as the media hypocrisy which has seen this comment go almost unnoticed unlike the synchronized outrage witnessed over BJP MP Vinay Katiyar’s remark on Priyanka Vadra.
Akhilesh Yadav body shamed Mayawati but no outrage. Secular hai bhai apne ladke.
— Samir Kumar (@samirkumar_) January 29, 2017
Akhilesh Yadav just insulted and body shamed Mayawati today. Do you have the courage to condemn it? https://t.co/snipRj4gbt
— simanta talukdar (@enigma15in) January 29, 2017
Samajwadi Abuse Directed at Mayawati
Samajwadi Party leaders have a long history of filthy abuse and innuendo directed at Mayawati. This intense hatred for Mayawati is the manifestation of the worst casteist impulses which all ‘secular’/regional outfits harbor under the surface. In 1995, SP workers laid siege to a Lucknow guest house where Mayawati was staying – she remained trapped till late in the night while the frenzied SP mob outside abused her and tried to break down the doors. 20 years later, no senior SP leader has apologized for this incident. Other SP abuse directed at Mayawati over the years –
- When Mayawati accused Mulayam’s men for a failed rape attempt, Mulayam defended himself with “Is she so pretty that anyone wouldd want to rape her”?
- Mulayam once made a personal jibe at Mayawati saying he doesn’t know if he should call her ‘Mrs or Miss’
- Mulayam’s brother Shivpal Yadav has questioned Mayawati’s character, her relations with Kanshi Ram & called her mad.
Everyday Samajwadi Sexism & Misogyny
SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav once justified rape as a “Boys will be boys” mistake, and even questioned the very feasibility of gang-rape. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and Akhilesh has more or less followed in his father’s footsteps, notwithstanding the PR machinery which tries to project him as a fresh, youthful political alternative.
In the wake of the Bulandshahr rape tragedy, Akhilesh Yadav gave an interview in which he said “Some incidents can’t be stopped..People play politics over incidents.” Earlier in 2014, when questioned by a lady journalist about the law and order situation in the state in the backdrop of the Badaun rape and murder case and the Azamgarh gangrape incident, CM Akhilesh retorted, “I hope you have not faced any danger!”
This article provides a good overview of the culture of abuse and misogyny which is widespread in Bharat’s politics, more so in the ‘secular & socialist’ stream. These are the champions which media and academics project as the ‘enlightened, secular, egalitarian’ leaders who are required to fight the ‘fascist, communal, upper caste’ forces.
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