The Uttar Pradesh government’s controversial proposal for population control has drawn attention in Madhya Pradesh, with ruling BJP members demanding a similar law in their state.
Some of those calling for such measures lashed out at the Muslim community for “having married two, three times and having produced 10 children”, but seemed to forget that they themselves had so many children.
Ram Lallu Vaishya, a BJP MP from Singrauli, appeared to hold Muslims responsible for India’s massive population, saying: “Our policy was ‘We two and our two’, but did it succeed? Hindus were asked to have a vasectomy, but others were left free. This shouldn’t happen.
Mr. Vaishya has nine children.
Mahendra Singh Sisodia of the BJP called for a UP-style population control mechanism.
“There are many laws to control the population, but the Uniform Civil Code must be applied because Muslims marry two to three times and have 10 children. There should be a limit to the number of children produced, regardless of the caste or religion,” he said.
Cabinet Minister Vishwas Sarang said he was “strongly convinced” that such a law should be passed.
The opposition Congress criticized ruling party leaders for their demand.
“At independence, the population was close to 40 crores (Muslims were 12 crores)… now it’s 130 crores (Muslims are about 25 crores)… The reason for all this is not is not ‘population control’… the real reason is the UP election,” said Arif Masood, a congressman from Bhopal.
Mr. Masood has four children.
Rameshwar Sharma, MP and former pro-mandate president, wrote to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, saying, “…humble request…making a population control law will prove to be an important step in the management of global development, security and good governance…”
The big question is whether Madhya Pradesh’s political leaders keep their word on population control.
The state has 227 sitting MPs, 125 of whom are from the BJP. 49 of these deputies have more than three children. 14 BJP MPs have more than four and three MPs have more than five.
The Congress has 95 deputies, 33 of whom 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 populous state according to the 2011 census.
On July 11, World Population Day, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath issued a new policy.
This was days after Chief Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma made similar announcements; Mr. Sarma, in fact, indicated that the policy was aimed at curbing the growth of the Muslim population.
The UP bill – a draft version of which has been shared with the public for comment – proposes that people with more than two children be banned from contesting local polls, applying for government jobs or receiving a grant . It also prohibits government employees from receiving promotions.
Sources said Madhya Pradesh MPs (like BJP MPs in Parliament) are considering a Private Member’s Bill on Population Control and Uniform Civil Code in the next session of the Assembly.
In 2000, the Congress government introduced a two-child standard for government employees and panchayat-level polls which was challenged in court and then withdrawn by a BJP government in 2005.
Last week, a 2020 affidavit from the Union Department of Health that was filed in the Supreme Court said the government was “unequivocally against coercion in family planning”.