• Wednesday, June 19, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Row over India politician’s bizarre remarks linking girl education with population control

As the chief minister made the remarks, a number of lawmakers from the opposition were found to be uncomfortable.

Nitish Kumar, chief minister of the eastern Indian state of Bihar. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

NITISH Kumar, chief minister of the eastern Indian state of Bihar and one of the major faces of the opposition alliance to prime minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on Tuesday (7) made bizarre remarks over controlling population in the assembly of his state in capital Patna, earning the opposition BJP’s wrath.

The 72-year-old leader made the remarks almost in graphic detail on population control and the BJP called them “vulgar”. Kumar uttered the words while underlining the significance for girls’ education to check population growth. It also demanded the CM’s resignation.

“If the girl is educated and when she gets married to a boy, she would understand that even if they do it, he should put it out at the last moment. They are doing it and that’s why the population growth is under control,” Kumar said, gesturing with his hand. India is now the most populous nation of the world with a population size of 1.4 billion.

As the chief minister made the remarks, leaders from his ruling coalition, including deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, were seen smiling and laughing. However, a number of lawmakers from the BJP were uncomfortable.

Even a woman lawmaker from an ally of Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) said he could have said the words in a better way.

“There hasn’t been a leader more vulgar than Nitish Kumar in Indian politics. It appears that Nitish babu’s is bitten by ‘adult, B-grade films’ bug. There should be a ban on his double-meaning remarks. It seems he has been influenced by the company he keeps,” the Bihar BJP said in a post on X.

Kumar’s remarks came after his government released the full report of the controversial caste survey detailing the economic status of various sections.

In a video, he is heard saying that the fertility rate, which was earlier at 4.3 per cent, has now dropped to 2.9 per cent per a report last year.

“The chief minister is over 70 and is making nonsensical remarks. He used a word that we cannot utter. We will protest against this,” said BJP lawmaker Gayatri Devi.

BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla said, “The language used by Mr Nitish Kumar inside the assembly is most vulgar, indecent, most misogynistic, sexist and patriarchal.

“This is the mindset of the chief minister of Bihar. Imagine what will be the plight of women of Bihar if such a language is spoken in the Bihar assembly,” he added.

He demanded that the chief minister step down.

A woman lawmaker from the Indian National Congress, an ally of Kumar, said he could have avoided certain words. “Our society prohibits from saying certain things in public,” Pratima Das said.

Yadav, however, backed the chief minister, saying he was talking about sex education.

(With PTI inputs)

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