Union Minister Giriraj Singh on July 11 expressed alarm over the “population explosion” in the country since Independence and favoured disenfranchisement of those who have more than two children.
The BJP leader from Bihar, known for making controversial remarks, shared a graphic on his official Twitter handle on World Population Day which showed that India’s population grew by a staggering 366% between 1947 and 2019 as against only 113% rise in sparsely populated U.S.
Mr. Singh, the Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, wrote in Hindi, “In India, population explosion is disturbing the balance of economy, social harmony and resources. One of the reasons [for failure to check it] is dhaarmik vyavadhan [religious obstacles].”
Several leaders of the Hindu right have often blamed Muslims for the spurt in country’s population.
Striking an alarmist note, the Cabinet Minister warned, “India appears to be heading like in 1947 towards another a ‘saanskritik vibhajan’ [partition in the name of culture]. All political parties will have to come forward for a birth control law.”
Later, he told some news channels in Delhi that strong measures must be in place to check population explosion.
“I hold the view that those who have more than two children should be stripped of their voting rights. And this provision must be applicable to all communities. No exemption should be made for any religious group just because it insists that its tenets disapprove of birth control measures,” he said.
The BJP leader’s views met with disapproval from the opposition RJD-Congress combine in the State.
Bihar RJD president Ram Chandra Purbe termed Mr. Singh’s comments an example of “ochhi rajneeti” (petty politics) since it appeared to blame the minorities for the ballooning population.
“From where does the Union Minister get such fanciful ideas? Can he point out any provision in the Constitution under which a person can be disenfranchised for having more than a specified number of children?” asked Congress MLC Prem Chandra Mishra.
Mr. Singh has often kicked up controversies with his remarks targeting Muslims.
A case of model code violation was registered against him during the Lok Sabha elections when he was in the fray from Begusarai for making objectionable comments against Muslims.
“Those who cannot say Vande Mataram or cannot respect the motherland, the nation will never forgive them. My ancestors died and were cremated at Simaria ghat and no grave was built for them but you [Muslims] need three hand spans of space [for burial],” he had told an election rally.