Controversial BJP parliamentarian Sakshi Maharaj waded into another controversy on Saturday by appearing to blame Muslims for the population boom and urging all political parties to come together to frame “population control” laws.
“This population rise is not because of Hindus. The population has risen because of those who support the concept of four wives and 40 children. It is not acceptable,” the Unnao MP said in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut.
An FIR was lodged against him later in the evening.
The state goes to polls in about a month and the BJP is locked in a tough fight with regional rivals Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and the Congress.
The remark came days after the Supreme Court barred candidates from seeking votes in the name of religion. The Congress said the comment was “offensive” and violated the model code of conduct.
It also complained to the Election Commission and sought immediate action against Maharaj.
The SP also slammed the BJP, highlighting the Supreme Court’s ruling. “I would urge the BJP to stop such things. Elections cannot be won by creating a stressful environment,” senior party leader Naresh Agarwal told the agency.
The BJP, however, distanced itself from the remark, clarifying that it did not share his opinion.
Later, the Unnao MP himself claimed that he was misquoted. “I have not commented on any community. I have been misquoted and am ready to face the Election Commission,” a news channel quoted him as saying.
Maharaj is no stranger to such controversies.
He triggered outrage in 2015 after urging all Hindu women to give birth to at least four children to increase the Hindu population and counter rising Muslim numbers.
At the rally, Maharaj also criticised the ‘triple talaq’ system and said it was unethical to desert a life partner by simply saying the word ‘talaq’ thrice.
He further said the BJP was pursuing a ‘common civil code’.
Maharaj was addressing a gathering of Hindu saints. He praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi and claimed that whatever the BJP had achieved was because of the blessings of saints.
(With agency inputs)