| Women protest against Mulayam Singh Yadav’s remark in Lucknow on Friday. (PTI) |
Lucknow, April 11: Mulayam Singh Yadav today claimed he never defended rape accused and that “no party cared for women as much as the Samajwadi Party”.
The statement comes a day after the Samajwadi Party chief alleged that innocent men were being sentenced to death in false rape cases and asserted that rapes sometimes happen because “boys make mistakes”. The statements had drawn criticism from women’s activists.
Today’s shift comes on a day the Election Commission sought a CD of Mulayam’s statement made at a rally in Moradabad.
“My statement was twisted by the media. I never defended the rape accused. I said innocent people get framed in rape cases and punished. This must not happen. I raised the issue of death sentence, which is a global debate,” the Samajwadi Party chief told a rally at Babrala at Sambhal constituency today.
Few women attended today’s rally, a fact Mulayam acknowledged. “I don’t see many women here to hear me. This may be because the media twisted my statement.”
He claimed the Samajwadi Party always defended women’s rights. Mulayam said he wanted rape culprits to be severely punished but he was “against” the death sentence. “Execution has been done away with in half of the world. In the rest, a debate is going on over the issue of capital punishment. I want hanging to stop,” Mulayam said.
“Several people and organisations have supported my views and the Samajwadi Party has also raised this issue in the all party meetings,” he said. “This is a matter of debate, a debate yields good results…. If I had said something on death sentence, what’s wrong? What was incorrect in that?” he asked, trying to explain the rationale of yesterday’s speech.
However, the Election Commission doesn’t seem to be in a mood to let go of the matter.
“The EC has asked for the CD of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s speech in Moradabad. We will be examining the contents of the speech before taking any action,” state chief electoral officer Umesh Sinha said.
The panel will examine the contents of the CD and judge if the Samajwadi Party leader was trying to influence any segment of voters with his alleged anti-women statement, sources said.
State BJP president Lakshmikant Bajpai slammed Mulayam’s statement as “poor self defence”.