Hang a rapist a 100 times and give me the duty to do so. I will do it for free," these are the words which Farhan Azmi, the Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate from Mumbai North Central parliamentary constituency, tweeted on Friday. His next tweet: "Spoke to my father about his comments. There is just one statement on the topic of rape — hang da rapist".
Farhan's tweets came in the backdrop of the bizarre remarks made by his father and the Maharashtra SP chief Abu Azmi, who suggested capital punishment for rape victims, as quoted by a tabloid. Azmi was commenting on another such remark made by the party's national chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Thursday. Yadav said in an Uttar Pradesh election rally that rapes happen due to little mistakes of boys, and hence, they shouldn't be given capital punishment.
The remarks of the two leaders was a huge embarrassment for Farhan who is trying to revive the party in Maharashtra by projecting himself as a progressive, gen-next leader.
Junior Azmi recently succeeded in pressurising the party's national leadership into canceling the candidature of controversial actor Kamaal R Khan from Mumbai North West constituency. Khan had posted some vulgar tweets against women.
However, the remarks of his father have embarrassed Farhan and put him on the defensive. Observers say this will not only make his Lok Sabha race tough but it may also affect the party's prospects in the state Assembly election later.
The party was already under criticism due to UP cabinet minister Azam Khan's statements. Khan created a nationwide stir by claiming in an election rally on Wednesday that those who lost their lives at the Kargil war were Muslims.
Observers say such remarks would further dent the party's image which is yet to come clean on the Muzaffarnagar riots. The party has only three MLAs in the Maharashtra Assembly and nine corporators out of a total of 227 in Mumbai's civic body.
"The traditional Muslim base of the party in UP and Maharashtra has declined after the Muzaffarnagar riots. Unfortunately, the leaders are still arrogant and seem to be overconfident," said a party functionary.