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Updated: April 16, 2014 04:52 IST

I hold women in high esteem: Mulayam

C. K. Chandramohan
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Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh
The Hindu
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh

Last week, he said ‘rape was a mistake committed by boys’

Facing criticism from all sections for his “rape a mistake committed by boys” statement last week, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh defended himself on Tuesday saying he was the greatest advocate of women’s welfare.

“I have even gone to jail for the cause of women and hold them in very high esteem,” he said at a rally in Rampur. Reiterating his claim that a non-BJP, non-Congress front would form the next government, Mr. Singh hit out at BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for selling “fake dreams.” “Mr. Modi says that the water in U.P. is dirty whereas a study shows that water in Gujarat is most dirty and unfit for drinking.”

“Mr. Modi says the Gujarat model of development is the best but the fact is that lands of Sikh farmers have been forcibly acquired by that government. If he becomes the Prime Minister, he will order acquisition of fertile land here also and give it to capitalists at throwaway prices leaving you landless,” he said.

Describing Azam Khan as a true friend of the masses, Mr. Singh said the Election Commission ban on his public rallies was wrong.

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