BJP leader Sadhvi Prachi has stoked a fresh controversy by making inflammatory remarks on the issue of 'love jihad' and defending her statement that Hindu women should have four children.
"They are trapping our daughters through 'love jihad'. These people who give birth to 35-40.... are spreading love jihad..... They are trying to make Hindustan into Darul Islam.
"When I made the remarks, it was as if the country was hit by a quake. The media said you have sparked an uproar with your remarks on four children. I said I have only advocated four children for Hindus not 40 puppies.... And it is important because the country needs it," the saffron-clad leader said at a function organised by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) that "felicitated" Hindus who have more than four children.
Prachi had contested the 2012 assembly elections on BJP ticket from Purkazi constituency in UP. She was among the persons accused of inciting riots through their provocative speeches in Muzaffarnagar in 2013 and was later granted bail.
The latest hate speech came despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi's warning to party leaders to restrain from making controversial comments which can overshadow his government's agenda of development and economic reforms.
The BJP was quick to distance itself from Prachi's remarks, saying the party does not agree with such views and is not interested in discussing any such issue, and asked the leader to exercise restraint.
"We do not think that the comments are correct. BJP does not want to discuss any issue other than good governance and even the people are not ready to accept any such discussion.
"Under such circumstances, there is no significance of such remarks," said chief of BJP's Uttar Pradesh unit Laxmikant Bajpai.
He asserted that the leader was not speaking at a party platform.
Prachi felicitated 20 persons, who had more than four children at the 'Virat Hindu Sammelan' organised by VHP in Uttar Pradesh's Badaun on Sunday. Those "honoured" included Dwarika Singh, who have 11 children, Rampal Singh and Surnam Singh, who have nine children each.
Addressing the gathering on the occasion, Sadhvi Prachi said, "Why family planning is implemented for Hindus only."
On "ghar wapasi (religious reconversions)", she said that if 1,400 years ago everyone was Hindu, "UP urban development minister Azam Khan, Jama Masjid's Imam Bukhari, former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Yusuf Raza Gilani should also do ghar wapasi", a term used for reconverting into Hinduism.
Prachi said that she was not against love but against "love jihad".
"A campaign is being run to trap Hindu girls in the name of love," she said.
The sadhvi had drawn criticism last month over her remarks that Hindu women should have four kids.
"Earlier we used to say 'hum do hamare do'. But now we have started saying that 'sher ka bachcha ek hi achha' (for a lion, one offspring is enough). This is wrong," Prachi had said at a gathering in Bhilwara.
"If there is one child, where all will you send him? To protect the border... or make him a scientist or he will take care of business.... So, we need four children. One can go to protect the borders, one can serve the society, give one to the saints and one to VHP to serve the nation and protect the culture. This is very important," she had said.
Demanding a law to ban forced conversions, Prachi had supported the VHP's ghar wapsi' or reconversion programme.
"If a son is angry due to the some reason and leaves the house, should he not be allowed to return. Should the family not accept him?
"That's why ghar wapsi' should be supported," she said.
Earlier, BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj drew criticism when he asked Hindu women to have at least four children, with the opposition accusing BJP of trying to polarise the atmosphere.
The BJP on its part had distanced itself from the remarks of Maharaj, who was also served a show cause notice, and urged its workers and public representatives to refrain from making such comments.
Video: Asked Hindus to produce 4 kids, not 40 puppies, Prachi says