The Uttar Pradesh government’s controversial proposal for population control has generated attention in Madhya Pradesh, with ruling BJP members clamouring for a similar law in their state.
Some of those demanding such measures lashed out at the Muslim community for “marrying two, three times and producing 10 kids”, but seemed to forget they have as many children themselves.
Ram Lallu Vaishya, a BJP MLA from Singrauli, seemed to hold Muslims responsible for India’s massive population, declaring: “Our policy was ‘We two and our two’, but did it succeed? Hindus were asked to get a vasectomy, but other were left free. This should not happen.”
Mr Vaishya has nine children.
The BJP’s Mahendra Singh Sisodia called for a UP-like population control mechanism.
“There are many laws to control population but Uniform Civil Code has to be implemented because Muslims marry two-three times and produce 10 children. There should be a limit on number of children produced irrespective of caste or religion,” he said.
Cabinet Minister Vishwas Sarang said it was his “firm belief” such a law should be passed.
The opposition Congress has slammed leaders of the ruling party for their demand.
“At Independence population was close to 40 crores (Muslims were 12 crores)… now it is 130 crores (Muslims are around 25 crores)… The reason for all this is not ‘population control’… the real reason is the UP election,” Arif Masood, a Congress MLA from Bhopal, said.
Mr Masood has four children.
Rameshwar Sharma, a MLA and former pro-term Speaker, wrote to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, saying: “… humble request… making population control law will prove to be a milestone in the direction of all round development, security and good governance…”
The big question is if Madhya Pradesh’s political leaders walk the talk on population control.
The state has 227 sitting MLAs, of whom 125 are from the BJP. 49 of these MLAs have more than three children. 14 BJP MLAs have more than four and three MLAs have more than five.
The Congress has 95 MLAs, of whom 33 have three or more children.
Of 31 ministers in Chief Minister Chouhan’s cabinet, 13 have three or more children.
Madhya Pradesh is India’s sixth most populated state according to the 2011 census.
On July 11 – World Population Day – UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath released a new policy.
This was days after Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma made similar announcements; Mr Sarma, in fact, indicated the policy was meant to check the growth of the Muslim population.
UP’s bill – a draft version of which has been shared with the public for feedback – proposes that people with more than two children will be debarred from contesting local polls, applying for government jobs or receiving any subsidy. It also bars government employees from promotions.
Sources have said Madhya Pradesh MLAs (like BJP MPs in Parliament) are considering a private member’s bill on population control and the Uniform Civil Code in the next Assembly session.
In 2000 the Congress government introduced a two-child norm for government employees and panchayat-level polls that was challenged in court and then withdrawn by a BJP government in 2005.
Last week a 2020 affidavit from the Union Health Ministry that had been filed before the Supreme Court said the government is “unequivocally against coercion in family planning“.