Opposition parties have hit out at the Uttar Pradesh government over the proposed draft bill on population control, with the Samajwadi Party terming it as an "election propaganda" while a Congress leader asked the state government to tell how many "legitimate and illegitimate children" its ministers have.
The remarks come a day after the Uttar Pradesh Population Policy 2021-2030 was unveiled by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to steady the growing population in the state and reduce maternal and infant deaths in a time-bound manner.
The 40-page policy document mentions that "attempts would be made to ensure there is a population balance among various communities in the state. Extensive campaigns would be run in communities, groups, and geographical areas where fertility rates were higher."
A draft of the Uttar Pradesh population control bill has been uploaded on the state law commission website.
Terming the bill as a part of the BJP's "election propaganda" ahead of assembly polls, Samajwadi Party MP from Sambhal, Shaqfiqur Rahman Barq said the state government should ban marriages if it wants to stabilise rising population.
"It (draft bill) is an electoral propaganda. They (BJP) look at everything from a political angle. They just want to win elections and don't take any decision in the interest of the people. Since assembly election is coming, they are concerned about it. By the grace of Allah, we will not let them win," Barq said here on Sunday evening.
In Farukhabad, Congress leader Salman Khurshid said, "before making the law government should tell how many legitimate and illegitimate children its ministers have.
"Politicians should declare how many children they have. I will also declare how many I have and then it should be discussed," he told reporters on Sunday.
When asked to elaborate on his statement on legitimate and illegitimate children, he said, "Those who consider it wrong should talk to me."
Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, Ram Govind Chowdury charged that the state government had failed on all fronts be it law and order or providing employment.
"To divert attention from its failure, it is bringing a bill. Population can be controlled through awareness. People are now themselves aware and considering two child norm," Chowdhury told reporters in Ballia.
"If someone has two daughters, will he not go for the third in the hope that it will be a son. There is a population control law already," he said.
Attacking the state government further, Barq said, It would be better to stop marriages. No one should be allowed to get married for the next 20 years and no children will be born".
"Those who will challenge the law of Allah will get finished," the MP from Sambhal said further.
Barq said while China was encouraging its citizens to have more children, India was doing the opposite which might backfire in case of a war.
"A lot of births are taking place in China and you (India) are stopping people from having children. A time will come when we will be very few. If there is a war, then from where will you bring people to fight," Barq said.
He also alleged that the recently held block panchayat chief polls were rigged by the ruling BJP.
According to the draft of the population control bill, people having more than two children in the state will be debarred from contesting local body polls, applying for government jobs or receiving any kind of subsidy.
The draft bill, for which suggestions have been invited from the public till July 19, also prohibits promotions in government jobs for such people, while offering incentives to those limiting their children to two.
The draft says it is necessary to control and stabilise the population of the state for the promotion of sustainable development with more equitable distribution.
If enacted, the provisions of the proposed legislation titled The Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilisation and Welfare) Bill, 2021 will come into force after one year from the date of publication in the Gazette, according to the Uttar Pradesh State Law Commission website.
Assam, which is another BJP-ruled state, too has announced that it will gradually implement a two-child policy for availing benefits under specific schemes funded by the state.