Shyamal Goswami, a BJP leader from Bengal, has said Hindu women should have five children
At a time the ruling BJP has sent notice to one of its parliamentarians for saying "Hindus should have four children," another party leader has gone a step further. "Hindu women should have five children," Shyamal Goswami, a leader of the BJP in Bengal has said.
"I want to tell my Hindu mothers and sisters that if they don't have five children, there will be no balance in India in future. Don't misunderstand me. If my Hindu mothers and sisters don't have five children, hardly any Hindus will be left in India. To protect Hinduism and Sanatan Dharma it is necessary for all Hindus to give birth to 5 children," Mr Goswami, who is BJP's district vice president in Birbhum, said at a public meeting on Monday.
On the same day, the party sent a showcause notice to its controversial MP from Uttar Pradesh, Sakshi Maharaj, over similar remarks.
"A Hindu woman must have at least four children. Give one to the army, another to us religious leaders and teachers," the 58-year-old saffron-robed MP said at a religious gathering last week.
A day later, he said, "Raat gayi, baat gayi (As time passed, the matter also ended)."
Embarrassed by the comments at a time Prime Minister Narendra Modi has pitched his government's agenda of development and economic revival, the BJP acted yesterday and gave Sakshi Maharaj 10 days to explain.
The MP, however, denied receiving any notice.
"I have just come to Delhi. If a notice was sent, my office would have received it. It is a "ghar ka mamala" (internal matter). Why is the media intruding?" he said today, responding to reporters' questions.
The Prime Minister, determined not to be sidetracked from his economic agenda, had warned his party's lawmakers against statements described by the opposition as evidence that the BJP-led government wants to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda.
The campaign by right-wing groups affiliated to the BJP to convert Muslims and Christians to Hinduism stalled Parliament's winter session, making it impossible for the government to push through important legislation.
The Prime Minister has been questioned by his critics for his silence on the issue of conversions, described as "gharwapsi" or homecoming by rightwing groups who say the converts were originally Hindu.