In a late night meeting at Lucknow on Thursday, the national leadership of the Samajwadi Party decided to cancel the candidature of controversial actor Kamaal R Khan. Pitted from Mumbai north-west, Khan is accused of making derogatory remarks against women on micro-blogging site Twitter.
The state unit of the party had submitted a copy of Khan's 1,129 tweets along with a strong recommendation to revoke his nomination to the party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav early this week. Khan has already filed his nomination.
"The decision to cancel Khan's candidature was taken in Lucknow on Thursday night. We will now write to the election commission to cancel his nomination," said Rais Shaikh, corporator and the Lok Sabha candidate of the party from Mumbai north-east constituency.
Earlier, Khan had informed SP leaders that the posts were old and were made from a parody account. The party, however, said Twitter officials confirmed that the account was indeed of Khan.
The party was being pulled up in the social media over Khan's derogatory posts against women, including female actors. Some women and party workers have also written to the party's youth wing (Maharashtra) president Farhan Azmi expressing their displeasure over Khan's candidature.
While senior leaders downplayed the issue, outrage in the social media has alerted Farhan, who is contesting from north-central Mumbai. He took a firm stand on the issue and kept pressing the party to put an end to the controversy by revoking Khan's ticket.
A source said, "The party's adamant stand could have affected the prospects of Farhan who is contesting the Lok Sabha election for the first time that too against sitting MP Priya Dutt and BJP candidate Poonam Mahajan."
The issue could also have provided fodder to rival camps, especially since the issue of women safety and respect occupies people's mind in past couple of years.
If Khan seeks to contest on any other party ticket or as an independent candidate, he will have to file his nomination again by Saturday.