Bihar: Nitish Kumar's Cabinet Colleague Plays Hindutva Card
Image Courtesy: DNA India
Patna: Contrary to the much-hyped "secular and socialist" image of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, one of his cabinet colleagues from ruling ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has exposed it by publicly demanding to control the population of Muslims in the country.
With campaigning for crucial Assembly elections in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh picking up, Bihar agriculture minister and senior BJP leader Amrendra Pratap Singh played the Hindutva card. He warned that the increasing Muslim population should be controlled immediately. If the Muslim population is not controlled, it will prove dangerous, he said.
Without revealing official data to support his claim, Singh's statement appears to be a part of a political strategy to send a message to polarise voters in the ongoing elections in Uttar Pradesh, particularly in eastern parts close to Bihar.
Singh, known to champion Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindutva politics, said if the Hindu population declines, it will lead to another division.
Singh didn't say anything about distressed farmers across the state, who are facing a shortage of urea during the last leg of rabi season. Instead, he expressed his concern over the increasing population of Muslims in several districts in the country, as well as in Bihar.
"Muslim population has been increasing in several villages in Seemanchal and Mithilanchal regions of the state. In several villages in the regions, the Hindu population has been declining. This is an alarming trend; it will prove dangerous for Bihar."
Singh further said that history is witness to the fact that the country was divided whenever the Hindu population declined in a particular region.
According to him, a population control law is a must in the country and the state. Without naming Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and CM Kumar, Singh asked why those demanding a caste-based census do not talk of the population control law.
"For a state like Bihar, there is an urgent need of a population control law, not of a caste-based census," Singh said.
Singh is one of the few vocal BJP leaders in Bihar, including Union Minister Giriraj Singh, who loudly demands a population control law. In the last two years, a string of BJP leaders, including ministers, MLAs and MLCs, has been pitching for a population control law in Bihar on the lines of neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP-led Yogi Adityanath government has prepared a draft of a population control bill.
However, the BJP leaders' chorus in Bihar is being widely seen as a part of the saffron party's strategy to counter Kumar's demand for a caste-based census. In recent months, senior BJP leaders, including Nitish Kumar's cabinet colleagues, have publicly voiced opposition to a caste-based census in the state.
Political watchers said it was a political compulsion for Kumar to take. Nearly six months after Kumar announced to hold an all-party meeting to conduct a caste-based census in Bihar, he is yet to call the much-awaited meeting. The delay in finalising the plan for a caste-based census in the state has raised eyebrows. It is widely seen as a political move not to antagonise his ruling ally.
But Kumar categorically ruled out any need for a population control law last year.
"No need for a population control law in Bihar. If any state enacts a population control law and implements it, we have no concern. But, we will have no such thing," Kumar had said then.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.