'Lost Mental Stability': BJP Hammers Nitish Kumar In Population Remark Row

Bihar CM Nitish Kumar is under fire for remarks about women’s education and population control (File).

New Delhi:

The BJP on Wednesday ripped into Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar – once its ally – for “vulgar” and “shameful” comments about the role of women’s education in population control. Protests against Nitish Kumar have sprouted across the country, with news agency ANI sharing visuals of a vociferous mob on the road outside Bihar Bhawan in Delhi, complete with placards and effigies of the Chief Minister.

The BJP has also urged the people of Bihar to recall the Chief Minister’s remarks when voting for the 2024 Lok Sabha election; the state has a not insignificant 40 seats and most of these were split between the BJP and Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United), which quit its alliance last year.

Earlier today BJP MPs and leaders brushed aside Nitish Kumar’s apology – he told reporters, “I take back my words if anyone (was) hurt” – declaring he had “shamed” women, and questioning the Janata Dal (United) leader’s allies, including ex-Congress boss Sonia Gandhi, for staying silent.

READ | “If Words Wrong…”: Nitish Kumar’s Apology In Population Control Remark Row

The BJP has also demanded Nitish Kumar resign. This, though, was rebuffed by the Assembly Speaker, who shouted down the BJP MLAs; “… you have no right (to demand the resignation)”.

Among the many (many) BJP leaders to have targeted Nitish Kumar was Union Minister Nityanand Rai – a Lok Sabha MP from Bihar’s Ujiarpur – who said he had had lost his “mental stability”. Mr Rai also attacked Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav for defending Nitish Kumar’s statement.

Nitish Kumar was also attacked by the BJP’s Aparna Yadav, who is the daughter-in-law of the late Mulayam Singh Yadav, the patriarch of the Samajwadi Party. “First of all… being a woman I am angry. I don’t think he should have said this… This kind of statement is shameful for the country…”

Her words were echoed by Vijay Kumar Sinha, who is the Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly. Mr Sinha said, “His statements shame women. The country saw how he embarrassed women… (he) has lost his memory… should resign… is no more worthy of sitting in Assembly…”

Delhi MP Manoj Tiwari said he had “lost respect” for the veteran politician.

“I have known Nitish Kumar since 2004. However, after listening to the statement, I have lost respect for him. How can a person say this… Nitish Kumar, after this statement seems, a gone case…”

BJP leaders from southern states were also quick to pounce on Nitish Kumar.

The party’s Tamil Nadu boss, K Annamalai, attacked the Bihar leader for “obscene comments… about our mothers and sisters”, and also took a two-for-one swipe at his state rival – the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. “… very unfortunately, Nitish Kumar, after joining INDIA (group) is speaking the language of DMK party… DMK party generally uses these words, this language…” he said.

Actor-politician Khushbu Sundar also slammed Nitish Kumar and demanded to know why women leaders in the INDIA bloc were still silent. “It is extremely disgraceful and appalling… what has happened to Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee? These women are quiet.”

“(Is) this the INDIA they are talking about? They should say Nitish Kumar should apologise…”

Nitish Kumar’s remark has also been criticised (relatively mildly) by AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who reminded the Bihar leader “the Legislative Assembly is a sacred place”.

This afternoon Nitish Kumar was waylaid by reporters as he tried to enter the Bihar Assembly.

“(My words) were not intended to hurt anybody. I have always maintained education is necessary for population control. I have also stood for women empowerment and women’s development,” he said outside the building. Inside, in both Houses, he repeated his offer of an apology.

The remark in question was made Tuesday during a debate on the contentious caste survey.

READ |On Nitish Kumar’s Bizarre Comments, Tejashwi Yadav Says “Sex Education”

Based on the report, Nitish Kumar’s government has passed a proposal to raise quotas for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and OBCs and EBCs – from the existing 50 per cent to 65 per cent.

READ |Nitish Kumar Wants Caste Quotas At 65%, Past Supreme Court Cap

The revised quotas – to which the centre’s 10 per cent for Economically Weaker Sections must be added – will take reservations past the 50 per cent cap ordered by the Supreme Court in 1992.

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With input from agencies



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