At a public event in Meerut on Friday, controversial MP and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sakshi Maharaj added a communal tone while speaking about India’s population explosion in what many say is an indirect jibe at the Muslim community. The alleged hate speech comes just days after the Election Commission implemented the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in the poll-bound state. Uttar Pradesh votes in seven phases from February 11 to March 8.
Without directly naming anyone, Maharaj reportedly said, “This population rise is not because of the Hindus. Population has risen due to those who support the concept of four wives and 40 children.” He added, “Mothers aren’t just birth-giving machines. Mother, Hindu or Muslim, should be respected.”
The BJP leader was in the city in Uttar Pradesh to inaugurate a temple when he made the remarks. Further saying that “the time to end ‘triple talaq’ is here”, he urged the government to implement Uniform Civil Code (UCC) as soon as possible. According to CNN-News18, Maharaj defended his comments saying, “I have not commented on any community. I have been misquoted and ready to face election commission.”
Congress leader KC Mittal told ANI, “Sakshi Maharaj’s speech based on caste and religion is very offensive. Its a violation of the MCC and the recent Supreme Court judgement” adding that the party will move EC to formally request action against the leader. The BJP however distanced itself from the MP’s remarks with union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi saying it shouldn’t be seen as a stand of the party.
Later explaining his statement, Maharaj said, “The population is rising, land is limited. I just said that women aren’t machines and that having 4 wives, 40 children and 3 divorces isn’t acceptable.” He added, “(Me and my brothers) should get an award. All four of us are celibate so there’s no question of kids.”
Video: Sakshi Maharaj Sparks Yet Another Controversy
Maharaj, the MP from Unnao, has a history of making communally-charged statements. In January 2015, he urged all women of the Hindu community to give birth to at least four children to increase the Hindu population in the country.