Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav during a joint press conference with Congress VP Rahul Gandhi made a sexist remark as he took a dig at rival BSP chief Mayawati when asked why that party was not part of the alliance. “Jagah kaise de dete unhe? Kitni jagah leti hain vo, unka toh chunav chinh hathi hai, (How could we have given space to her? She takes so much space, even her party symbol is that of an elephant),” Yadav was quoted saying by news agency ANI in a purported reference to her body type.
However, contrary to Yadav’s take on Mayawati, Gandhi was appreciative of her. “Mayawati ji ki personally respect karta hun; BSP ne UP mei sarkar chalayi aur kuch galti ki, par mera respect intact hai (I respect the personality of Mayawati. BSP managed the UP government and made few mistakes. But my respect for her remains intact.), ” he said. He further added that “Mayawati’s ideology is not harmful for the country so do not compare Mayawati-ji with RSS.”
Both Gandhi and Yadav were able to stitch together an alliance between SP and Congress for the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. Under the formula, the SP will fight on 289 seats and the Congress on the remaining 105 seats. The alliance turns the election into a three-cornered contest with the BJP and the BSP being the other contenders for a shot at power.