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Sakshi Maharaj defends controversial remarks, BJP distances itself

By Ians English

New Delhi, Jan 7: Facing severe criticism, BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj on Saturday defended his controversial speech in which he blamed Muslims for India's population boom, saying he did not name any community but rather expressed concern. While the opposition has called for action against him, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday distanced itself from the remarks.

Sakshi Maharaj

A day after making the communally laced speech at a gathering in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, the Unnao MP blamed the media for quoting him "out of context". "I did not make any communal speech. It was a gathering of saints during which I expressed concern about population explosion. My speech has been videographed and no where I have named any community," Sakshi Maharaj told IANS.

[Also read: 'Those with 4 wives, 40 children responsible for population rise']

Speaking at the event in Meerut on Friday, the controversial leader called for implementing the Uniform Civil Code and indirectly held Muslims responsible for population explosion. "Population is rising rapidly, and so are the country's problems. But Hindus are not responsible for this. Those who talk about four wives and forty children are responsible," Sakshi Maharaj said in his address which was telecast by the media and widely shared on social media.

"Remember, if Hindus number decreases, the country will be divided," said the MP, days after the Supreme Court declared that appealing for votes in the name of religion was "illegal". "I said four wives and forty children will not be allowed, cannot be allowed. Mothers are not machines," he said, calling for equal laws for all irrespective of number of children a person has.

While the opposition Congress and the state's ruling Samajwadi Party expressed strong reservation over the remarks and termed it a violation of the election Model Code of Conduct, the BJP distanced itself. "This shouldn't be seen as the BJP's stand," Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said here when asked by the media to react to the controversial remarks.

Calling the remarks offensive and a violation of the Model Code of Conduct, Congress leader K. C. Mittal said the party was approaching the Election Commission of India to seek action against Sakshi Maharaj.

The SP as well as the Bahujan Samaj Party also demanded stringent action against the BJP leader notorious for making controversial statements. In January 2015, he had asked Hindu women to produce at least four children each to "protect the religion".

Meanwhile, the Election Commission has sought a report from Meerut district administration regarding a controversial statement by BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj, who indirectly blamed Muslims for the population boom in the country.


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