Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut speaking to ANI said that overpopulation in UP and Bihar is problematic to other states as well and the results of implementing the Population Control Bill should be studied in Uttar Pradesh first before it can be deliberated at the national level.

"We'll first wait and analyse the effects of Population Control Bill in Uttar Pradesh then discuss or debate at the national level. It shouldn't be introduced just because elections are near. Overpopulation in UP and Bihar affects other states also" Sanjay Raut said.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Saturday alleged the BJP's motive of raising the issue is political and aimed at targeting a "particular community".

The former Union minister said the population debate is "utterly misplaced" and half a century out-of-date as a large majority of Indian states have achieved replacement levels of fertility.

In an interview with PTI, Tharoor said the bigger challenge for India in the next 20 years will be to prepare for an ageing population, not a growing population.

He alleged the ruling party is raising this issue out of "thinly-concealed motivation" to target a "particular community".

"It is no accident that the three states where the government is talking about reducing population are UP (Uttar Pradesh), Assam and Lakshadweep, where everyone knows who their intended audience is," the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram said.

"The Hindutva elements in our polity have not really studied the demographic issues. Their motive is purely political and communal," he said when asked about the push for population control in UP and Assam.

Tharoor's remarks come days after Uttar Pradesh's draft population control bill was made public and the Assam government proposed formulation of a policy in this regard. Both states are ruled by the BJP.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar earlier expressed favour with the bill.

He said that the population needs to be controlled so as to sustain the country's economy, healthy living standards and a balanced environment.

"The message of population control needs to reach far and wide to sustain the nation's economy, gross national income, healthy living standards, and a balanced environment. Every conscious citizen should make a commitment to contribute to population control on the occasion of World Population Day," said Pawar on the occasion of World Population Day.

The UP draft bill has provisions to debar people who have more than two children from the benefits of government schemes and proposes perks to those who follow the two-child policy.

(With inputs from agencies)

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