Lucknow: Two days after the poll dates were announced in Uttar Pradesh, BJP MP and religious leader Sakshi Maharaj on Saturday triggered a fresh row by insinuating that the Muslim community was responsible for the population boom in the country.
According to reports, he made provocative remarks when he was speaking at the inauguration function of a temple in Meerut.
"This population rise in not because of Hindus. Population has risen due to those who support the concept of four wives and 40 children," he reportedly said. But the MP later went on to deny he had said anything of that sort.
The controversial remarks comes close on the heels of the Supreme Court making it clear that no person can seek votes in the name of religion and caste.
Flaying the comments, JD-U leader K C Tyagi termed them as the first major violation of the Supreme Court guidelines on use of religion in politics.
"Recently the Supreme Court and the Chief Election Commission laid down some guidelines for model code of conduct, including not to use religion, caste and language. This is the first major violation by a major political party that is BJP, by its MP. Now action must be taken by the party as well as the Election Commission against Sakshi Maharaj. They are making derogatory comments against one section of the society. This is violation of Model Code of Conduct to incite one section against another. And this is a criminal act," he said.
Coming under Opposition fire, the BJP also distanced itself from the comments, claiming the party had nothing to do with the views expressed by the leader.
“This shouldn't be seen as the BJP's stand,” Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
Condemning the party for the offensive remarks, the Congress said it would take the matter to the Election Commission.
Congress leader KC Mittal told ANI, “Sakshi Maharaj’s speech based on caste and religion is very offensive. It's a violation of the MCC and the recent Supreme Court judgement,” adding the party would move EC to formally request action against the leader.
Jumping on the bandwagon, the Samajwadi Party also slammed the BJP, highlighting the recent Supreme Court ruling that votes should not be sough on the basis of caste, religion etc.
Sakshi Maharaj, a BJP MP from UP’s Unnao, had earlier in 2015 called for Hindu women to bear 4 children each. His remarks had sparked criticism from the Opposition which had alleged the ruling party was trying to polarise society....