The Opposition has sought action against the MP for the “offensive remarks”, which were quickly disowned by the BJP.
Lucknow/New Delhi: The police lodged an FIR against BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj on Saturday for allegedly hurting religious sentiments after he indirectly blamed Muslims for India’s population boom, just four days after the Supreme Court banned seeking votes in the name of religion, caste, community or language.
Speaking at a religious congregation in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district on Friday, the MP allegedly blamed population boom on those “with four wives and 40 children”. The Election Commission has sought a report from the district administration.
“Hindus are not responsible... Strict laws are required if we really want to curb population. Mothers are not just birth-giving machines. Mothers — Hindu or Muslim — should be respected,” the MP reportedly said, two days after Assembly elections were announced in five states, including UP.
He was also quoted as having said that he had urged the Centre to implement a uniform civil code, another contentious issue, as soon as possible.
The FIR was registered at Meerut's Sadar Bazar police station. The MP has made controversial remarks in the past as well.
Uttar Pradesh's chief electoral officer has sought a report from the Meerut administration.
The Opposition has sought action against the MP for the “offensive remarks”, which were quickly disowned by the BJP. Distancing itself from the Unnao MP’s comment, Union minister and senior BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that his party is for inclusive growth.
“I have not read his statement. This country runs as per law, Constitution and not baton. His statement, I believe, is not the government’s view and also not of the BJP,” Mr Naqvi said.
BJP national secretary Shrikant Sharma said Sakshi Maharaj has clarified on the issue and the BJP believes in “sabka saath, sabka vikas.”
The Congress complained to India’s Chief Election Commissioner and demanded immediate action against the MP in light of the model code of conduct that came into force on Wednesday, and the Supreme Court order that came on Monday. On Saturday, Sakshi Maharaj denied commenting on any particular community. He said that he had been quoted out of context, and was ready to face the Election Commission.
“We have got information about a few comments during a sant sammelan held at Augharnath Temple here through various newspapers. We will take prompt action according to law if we find anything,” Meerut district magistrate B. Chandrakala said.
Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan said since the model code of conduct is already in force, the MP’s speech would amount to “corrupt practice” under Section 123(3) of the Representation of the People Act. The Election Commission, he said, could restrain Sakshi Maharaj from addressing future election meetings till the conclusion of polls in the five states.
UP Congress MLA Akhilesh Singh said, “The BJP leader’s communal remarks are a ploy to divert attention from promises made by his party and also a violation of the SC order. He should be dismissed from Parliament and BJP should expel him from the party”. Sources in the state election commission said that they had not yet received directives regarding the implementation of the SC order.
“The modalities of the manner of implementation are still being worked out. We have sought a report from the district administration and we will forward the same to the central Election Commission for advice on action,” a senior official said.
Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal said in Delhi, “I would urge BJP to stop such things. Elections cannot be won by creating a stressful environment”.
BSP leader Sudhindra Bhadoria accused the BJP of using divisive language to whip up communal sentiments.