Pragya Thakur, Azam Khan, Moon Moon Sen... those that made headlines with their views in LS polls
From east to west and north to south, a battery of candidates across the political spectrum demonstrated a penchant for getting into trouble with their views on a range of issues
Call them motor-mouths or simply contentious, they are the not-to-be-quietened candidates who kept up the controversial chatter through the Lok Sabha elections, sometimes at rallies and other times through social media posts or responses to questions from the media.
From east to west and north to south, a battery of candidates across the political spectrum demonstrated a penchant for getting into trouble with their views on a range of issues.
Some like Samajwadi Party's Azam Khan and Bharatiya Janata Party's Giriraj Singh are old time 'foot-in-the-mouth' politicians, frequently in the headlines for their outspoken and sometimes outrageous views, others like BJP's Pragya Singh Thakur and Communist Party of India's Kanhaiya Kumar are new to the election game.
They stoked controversy during the high-voltage campaign, at times forcing the Election Commission to bar some of them from campaigning or inviting scrutiny from their own party's leadership.
Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case who is contesting elections from Bhopal, last week lauded Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse as a "patriot", sparking furious debate in the last lap of the seven-phase elections. The Congress alleged that "insulting martyrs is in the DNA" of the BJP, which also condemned her remarks. Thakur later apologised for her remarks.
She also had to apologise for her remarks on 26/11 attack martyr, IPS officer Hemant Karkare, that she had "cursed" him for torturing her and falsely implicating her in the blasts case.
Thakur was temporarily banned from campaigning for her hate remarks by the Election Commission.
In Uttar Pradesh, SP's Khan attracted widespread ire for his sexist jibes against his one-time colleague, actor-politician Jaya Prada, who is his rival in the Rampur seat and joined the BJP recently.
“People of Rampur, people of Uttar Pradesh and people of India, it took you 17 years to understand her reality. But I could recognise in 17 days that she wears khaki underwear," he said without naming her.
Khan is facing an FIR for the remark.
Jaya Prada, on her part, hit back with a speech in which she referred to Khan's "X-ray eyes". "Considering the comments Azam Khan makes against me, (BSP chief) Mayawati, his X-ray like eyes will also stare at you," she said at a public meeting.
Bihar saw a face-off between two ideologically opposed candidates – Giriraj Singh and Kanhaiya Kumar – in Begusarai.
"Those who cannot say Vande Mataram or cannot respect the motherland, the nation will never forgive them…,” he said in a rally in remarks seen as attacking the Muslim community.
In March, the veteran BJP leader was reported as saying those not attending the rally of the prime minister, to be held that month, would be deemed anti-national.
He, however, himself remained absent from that very rally.
His rival Kanhaiya Kumar, a former student leader from Jawaharlal Nehru University who was charged with sedition for allegedly making anti-India comments, said on Twitter, “For BJP people Godse is a patriot. They are expected to call people like us as traitor. Thank god BJP doesn't consider us patriots.” In the South, Nalin Kumar Kateel, the BJP's candidate and sitting MP from Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka, dove into the Godse controversy by comparing the assassin with with Rajiv Gandhi.
"Godse killed one, Kasab killed 72, Rajiv Gandhi killed 17,000. You judge who is more cruel in this??" Kateel tweeted, equating Godse, 26/11 convict Ajmal Kasab and Rajiv Gandhi.