Differences in Bihar NDA over need of population law
The NDA in Bihar seems to be a divided house over the need for a population law in the state after its neighbouring state’s chief minister Yogi Adityanath announced to bring in a law.
The two major alliance partners of the NDA, the BJP and the JD(U), hold a diametrically opposite view on the issue.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday had said that laws alone can’t help check the population. “It was found after a lot of research that the rate of reproduction comes down effectively if women are educated. Bihar has experimented with it by promoting education among the girls and achieved success. If it continued, the state would have negative growth in population after 2040,” said Kumar and gave the example of China to support his point. “In China too, a decision was taken regarding one to two children, now see what is happening there. The biggest thing is that when women are fully educated and aware, then the fertility rate will automatically decrease,” he said.
Bihar’s Panchayati Raj Minister Samrat Choudhary put CM Nitish in a dock by saying that the CM has made the law applicable in municipal bodies. “It is very clear that population control law should be implemented in this country. In Bihar, this law is already applicable in the municipal body. Now is the time that it should be implemented in Panchayats also,” said Choudhary.
“Now the time has come that the two-children norm should be introduced in panchayat elections,” he said while underlining that “any such provision could be introduced only from next rural local bodies polls to be held in 2026 if there is a consensus,” he added.
Bihar’s deputy chief minister Renu Devi and other party leaders do not agree with Kumar’s views and vociferously demanded a law to check the population.
“For population control, there is a need to make men aware than women because there is a lot of fear among men about sterilisation. In many districts of Bihar, the rate of sterilisation is only 1%,” said the deputy CM.
Union minister Giriraj Singh too rejected Nitish Kumar’s theory. “Population policy is the need of the country. Caste, religion is not an issue of politics. The way population is becoming a hindrance in development, in this situation population control law is necessary. The population control law of the Yogi government is a big step,” said Singh at Lakhisarai. Union minister of state for home Nityanand Rai, who is on a tour to Bihar said that demand for the law is coming from various corners. “The government is studying all aspects,” said Rai.
The chief minister, who found himself cornered by the BJP and his party workers, got the support of Congress.
Congress spokesperson Rajesh Rathod said that the party agrees with the words of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. Population control in the country should be done with awareness.
Incidentally, this is not the first time that the BJP and the JD(U) have differed on issues. Earlier, after objecting to CAA, the party voted in favour of the government.
The RJD attacked the chief minister. “If he is opposed to BJP’s stand, he should leave the party immediately,” said RJD spokesperson Mritunjay Tiwary.