Bharatiya Janata Party Member of Parliament Sakshi Maharaj is again doing what he does best: putting his foot in his mouth.
Ahead of the crucial Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and four other states, the Unnao MP clearly blamed Muslims for a sharp rise in population in the country when he said that Hindus are clearly not responsible for it and then went on to add: "Population is increased by those who support the concept of four wives and 40 children."
Leaving no doubt that he was speaking against the Muslim community, Maharaj also then spoke against the practice of triple talaq and asked the government to implement Uniform Civil Code (UCC) as soon as possible, reported News18. We really wonder about how much Maharaj actually cares about the triple talaq issue, considering the communal angle he gave to the issue of population rise.
He also said that the country was being divided because Hindus were not having enough children. "Hindu ghataa aur desh bataa," he said. "Whether Hindu or Muslim, mothers are not machines," he added.
Reacting to Maharaj's remarks, Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told Times Now that such a statement could not be BJP's position.
Maharaj's remarks make a mockery out of the Supreme Court's Monday verdict that seeking votes in the name of religion during polls is illegal. PTI had reported that the Supreme Court in a majority verdict, held that any appeal for votes on the ground of religion amounts to corrupt practices under electoral laws.
In a marked departure from the view held in the 1995 "Hindutva" judgement that the term "his" used in section 123 (3) of the Representation of the People (RP) Act meant the religion, caste, etc, of candidates only, a seven-judge bench headed by the then chief justice, TS Thakur, by a majority of 4:3, had held that any appeal for votes on these grounds would amount to "corrupt practice".
"An appeal in the name of religion, race, caste, community or language is impermissible under the RP Act, 1951 and would constitute a corrupt practice sufficient to annul the election in which such an appeal was made regardless whether the appeal was in the name of the candidate's religion or the religion of the election agent or that of the opponent or that of the voter's," the former Chief Justice of India, who concurred with majority verdict written by Justice MB Lokur, had said.
After the apex court verdict, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had also said that the BJP never did nor will it do politics of religious polarisation, stressing that the "secular" parties need to be cautious in the wake of the Supreme Court order.
"I feel if it (BJP) was doing politics of polarisation, it would not have got a clear majority in Parliament... it is for the first time that a non-Congress party has got a clear majority in the Parliament. Now, to accuse that political party, and its workers and volunteers is not right," he had said.
On the Supreme Court order, he had said, "Whatever the Supreme Court has said is absolutely right. I fully agree with whatever the apex court has said...Politics should not be on the lines of caste, cult or religion. Politics should be only in the name of humanity and justice."
Clearly, though, Sakshi Maharaj is either unaware of or deliberately ignoring both the Supreme Court verdict and Rajnath Singh's remarks.
Maharaj later said that he had been misquoted and that he actually said nothing against the Muslim community, reported CNN-News18. He said that he was ready to face the Election Commission if he was wrong.
With inputs from PTI