VARANASI, May 16 -- Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati on Wednesday defended her party's candidate from Ghosi in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Atul Rai, an alleged rape accused, claiming that the Bharatiya Janata Party had implicated him in a false case.

Rai has been missing since May 1 after a first information report (FIR) was lodged against him in Varanasi by a woman accusing him of sexual exploitation, cheating and intimidation.

"The BJP has framed Rai to defame him. Without caring for the respect and honour of women, BJP leaders are forcing some women to level false allegations against opposition leaders for political gains," Mayawati said, addressing a joint rally with Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav in support of Rai in Mau...