If there’s one thing you shouldn’t seek BJP leader Nathan Shah’s advice on, it’s family planning.
When invited to speak on the occasion of World Population Day on Saturday, the MLA from Junnardeo constituency in Madhya Pradesh left government officials red-faced by exhorting people to produce at least four children each. The reason? Indian culture promotes big families with at least four-five children, something that does not fall in line with family planning.
“I appeal to mothers and sisters not to repeat this mistake (sterilisation). Tell them (health officials) that we don’t want the Rs 12,000 or Rs 19,000 (incentive on birth control). I am completely against the concept of family planning. I also ask ANMs and ASHA workers to not listen to officials of their departments who ask them to promote such programmes (family planning),” Shah said during the programme organised by the health department.
“Main to ulta he bolunga kyunki yeh meri iccha ke virudha hai. Main aya hoon kyunki doctor sahib ne bulaya hai. (I will speak against it because this programme is against my wish. I have come because doctor has invited me),” said Shah. He referred to King Dashratha’s four sons, and King Pandava’s five to substantiate his point.
The MLA was speaking at the Community Health Centre at Tamia in Chhindwara district.
When HT spoke to the MLA on the issue later, he said that he had three children of his own.
The party, meanwhile, distanced itself from his statements. Every person has the freedom to speak his mind in a democracy, health minister Narottam Mishra said, adding, “These may be his personal views.”
BJP spokesperson Vishwas Sarang voiced similar thoughts.
The Vikas Samvad, however, considered his statement highly improper. “Such statements can be very discouraging when the state is fighting to control issues like infant mortality and maternal mortality rate,” said Sachin Jain, association secretary.
Earlier, other BJP leaders like Sadhvi Prachi and Yogi Adityanath had made similar statements.