Controversial BJP parliamentarian Sakshi Maharaj on Tuesday faced possible disciplinary action with the Election Commission issuing notice to him over his comments that appeared to blame the Muslim community for India’s population growth.
The Lok Sabha MP from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh has been asked to reply by Wednesday morning.
Read in entirety, his remarks “have (the) effect of promoting enmity between classes of society…” and prima facie violates the model code of conduct which came into force on January 4 following announcement of assembly polls in five states, including Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress and other political parties have accused Maharaj of fanning communal tension ahead of the seven-phase polls in the state.
“This population rise is not because of Hindus. The population has risen because of those who support the concept of four wives and 40 children. It is not acceptable.”
Speaking in Meerut last week, Maharaj had urged all political parties to come together to frame “population control” laws.
“This population rise is not because of Hindus. The population has risen because of those who support the concept of four wives and 40 children. It is not acceptable,” the MP said.
Muslims form a sizeable chunk of the electorate in the country’s most populous state and are a decisive factor in many constituencies.
While the BJP said it was not the party’s stand, Maharaj later claimed he was misquoted.
The state goes to polls in about a month and the BJP is locked in a tough fight with regional rivals Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), and the Congress.
The remark came days after the Supreme Court barred candidates from seeking votes in the name of religion.
The Congress said the comment was “offensive” and violated the model code of conduct. It also complained to the Election Commission and sought immediate action against Maharaj.
The SP also slammed the BJP, highlighting the Supreme Court’s ruling.
This is not the first time Maharaj has stirred controversy for hor remarks. He had triggered outrage in 2015 after urging all Hindu women to give birth to at least four children to increase the Hindu population and counter rising Muslim numbers
In October the same year, he justified the attack on MLA Engineer Rashid by BJP lawmakers inside the Jammu and Kashmir assembly for hosting a “beef party”.
“If he had to consume beef, he could have done it in the confines of a hotel room. (By organising a beef party) He deliberately tried to hurt and provoke the sentiments of Hindus.”
“Many Muslim scholars have also said that no one should kill cows and consume beef. Even in the time of Mughal emperors Akbar and Aurangzeb, there was prohibition of cow slaughter…”
Maharaj also defended Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar’s reported comment (which was denied subsequently) that Muslims have to give up beef if they want to stay in the country.
“Many Muslim scholars have also said that no one should kill cows and consume beef. Even in the time of Mughal emperors Akbar and Aurangzeb, there was prohibition of cow slaughter. So the heavens have not crashed down, if Khattar says the same thing,” Maharaj said.