Congress on Wednesday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi over BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj’s remark asking Hindu women to have at least four children, even as the saffron outfit distanced itself from the comment, saying it was his personal opinion.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said: “Is it that BJP has changed the population policy of India without our knowledge? Is the population policy of India as against that of China, as against that of several other developing or transforming economies now going to be in the electoral slogan – ‘Ab ki baar, bacche char’ or is it going to be ‘Make in India plus 4’. The PM should clarify.”
“It is an extremely serious matter. The Prime Minister has spoken on minute, micro issues. He has spoken eloquently. He has spoken on macro issues from New York to Australia and from Red Fort to Chhattisgarh. Surely he has the time to speak a few sentences and if he doesn’t have the time he can at least tweet about the eminent and wise Sakshi Maharaj,” he added.
“Sakshi Maharaj has shown his wisdom by his earlier statements. The Prime Minister kept quiet… He has now spoken again… The point is the Prime Minister is still silent. And so is the home Minister, finance minister and BJP president. What does this silence mean? The meaning is clear, the message is clear,” he said.
Singhvi said Maharaj’s remark show how BJP looks upon women. “To treat women symbolically as child bearing structures… This is a complete insult to the power, potential and capacity of about 50 per cent of our population,” the Congress said.
Congress leader Anand Sharma said: “The BJP has orchestrated this to polarise the atmosphere and divert the attention from real issues… We would like to hear from the Prime Minister because he is the leader of BJP.”
A red-faced BJP, however, said it does not subscribe to the views of its Unnao MP, with party president Amit Shah asserting that the comment was not the party stand. “It is his own view… his personal remark. It is not the stand of the party,” Shah told reporters in Bhubaneswar.
Later, BJP national secretary Shirkant Sharma issued a statement urging the party members to focus on the government’s development initiatives and refrain from making unnecessary statements.