New Delhi: BJP lawmaker Sakshi Maharaj has controversially said that Muslims are responsible for India's population rise. The party has disowned the remark saying neither the BJP, nor the government agrees with such comments.
"The population rise is not because of Hindus. Population has risen due to those who support the concept of four wives and 40 children," the lawmaker from Unnao said on Friday while addressing an event in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.
"This shouldn't be seen as BJP's stand," Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
Sakshi Maharaj's clarification today did nothing to calm the outrage. "The population is increasing by the day. A woman is not a machine. It is not acceptable to have four wives, 40 children and three divorces... We should be rewarded as I have four brothers and we all are unmarried and we don't have any children," Sakshi Maharaj told news agency ANI.
A police complaint has been filed against him and the organisers of Friday's Meerut event.
The BJP lawmaker's controversial comments come right ahead of elections in Uttar Pradesh where polling dates have been announced by the Election Commission. Uttar Pradesh will go to polls in seven phases from February 11 to March 8, and the Model Code of Conduct is in place.
The Congress, which has hit out at the BJP over Mr Maharaj's remarks, says it will approach the Election Commission demanding action. "The speech of Sakshi Maharaj based on religion and caste is very offensive and it violates the Model Code of Conduct. I feel action should be taken. We will definitely move the Election Commission," Congress' KC Mittal told ANI.
Sakshi Maharaj is known for his intemperate remarks. He had demanded death penalty in cases of cow slaughter last year. He had also said Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was "mad" and compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Lord Krishna.
(With inputs from agencies)