‘Completely out of place’, Shashi Tharoor slams BJP’s state population control bills

Amid pressure for a policy of population control by some Bharatiya Janata Party-led states, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Saturday alleged that the BJP’s motive for raising the issue was political and aimed at targeting a “particular community”.

The former Union minister said the population debate was “completely misplaced” and outdated for half a century, as a large majority of Indian states have reached replacement fertility levels.

In an interview with PTI, Tharoor said India’s biggest challenge over the next 20 years will be preparing for an aging population, not a growing population.

He alleged the ruling party was raising the issue out of “thinly concealed motivation” to target a “particular community”.

“It is no coincidence that the three states where the government is talking about reducing the population are UP (Uttar Pradesh), Assam and Lakshadweep, where everyone knows who the intended audience is,” said the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram.

“Hindutva elements in our politics haven’t really studied population issues. Their motivation is purely political and communal,” he said when asked about the push for control of poverty. population in UP and Assam.

Tharoor’s remarks come days after the Uttar Pradesh Population Control Bill was made public and the government of Assam proposed the formulation of a policy in this regard. Both states are ruled by the BJP.

The UP bill contains provisions to exclude people who have more than two children from benefits from government programs and offers benefits to those who follow the two-child policy.

Besides, some BJP MPs are set to introduce private member’s bills on population control and uniform civil code in the upcoming monsoon session of parliament, according to information from the secretariats of the two. bedrooms.

The Monsoon session begins on July 19 and will end on August 13.

Asked about the upcoming parliamentary session and the key issues Congress and the opposition would raise, Tharoor said the government had been ‘so colossally incompetent’ that there are multiple issues ‘that we need to raise in the public interest. “.

“The government’s incompetence in its disastrous mismanagement of COVID, especially the error-ridden vaccination policy; the continuing failure to resolve the unrest among farmers; the cratering economy, with GDP growth at its lowest in three decades,” he said, listing the issues the opposition needs to focus on in parliament.

He also referred to “the rise in prices caused by exorbitant fuel taxes; the worst unemployment ever recorded”, the French investigation into corruption in the Rafale affair, the situation at the Sino-Indian border and the crisis in Afghanistan.

“And who knows what else might arise by Monday morning, given the government’s many unsavory sins of omission and commission?” Tharoor said.

On disruption rather than debate becoming the norm in parliament, the 65-year-old Congress leader said it was well known that he opposed disruption on principle and preferred to debate the issues.

“But if you look at these disturbances in recent years that have been called by the opposition, they have always been caused by the refusal of the ruling party to discuss a specific issue of burning national importance, which leaves to the opposition no choice but to draw attention to issues the government wishes to avoid through disruption,” he said.

If debates were allowed, the disruptions would be unnecessary, he claimed.

Tharoor urged the government to have the courage to debate any issue the opposition wishes to raise.

“That’s what parliament is for. The government prefers to treat it like a bulletin board where it can just announce its laws and policies,” he said.

“If the ruling party treats parliament with respect, which means agreeing to discuss issues raised by the opposition and not just using their raw majority to push through the government’s agenda, I’m sure the opposition will make the the same,” he said.

When asked if the situation in Afghanistan would also be a key issue to raise in Parliament, Tharoor replied: “Yes, that’s why I mentioned it with China as the two external affairs issues that require a discussion”. PTI ASK BJ RT

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