Meerut/New Delhi: BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj was at the centre of another controversy when he asked Hindu women to have at least four children, sparking condemnation from the opposition which alleged that the ruling party was trying to polarise the atmosphere.

BJP on its part distanced itself from the remarks of Maharaj and urged its workers and public representatives to refrain from making such comments. "We have accepted the slogan 'Hum do, hamara ek'. Now these traitors are not satisfied. They have given another slogan 'Hum do aur hamara.... They are advocating marriage of a girl to a girl, boy to another boy. This is what the last government did.

"This is why I... want to request women to give birth to at least four children. Give one to sadhus and ascetics. Media says there are ceasefire violations happening, so send another to the border," the saffron-clad MP from Unnao said at a religious convention in Meerut yesterday.

Sakshi Maharaj
BJP’s Sakshi Maharaj had earlier described Naturam Godse as a ‘nationalist’, and then backtracked. Pic/PTI

Sakshi had earlier stoked a row by describing Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse as a "patriot" and was forced to apologise in Parliament.

The opposition reacted sharply to Sakshi's controversial remarks with JD(U) taking a jibe at the Sangh Parivar and asking its leaders to lead by example. They also demanded a clarification from the government.

"Is the Indian population policy being changed? Why has the Prime Minister maintained silence for 24 hours. Why has the Home Minister, the party president, the finance minister maintained silence on the issue," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.

"Is this the new population policy? The nation wants an answer. We are confident that no answer will come," he said. Senior Congress leader and Deputy Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma said through such remarks by its MPs the ruling party was trying to polarise the matter to divert attention from real issues.

"The BJP has orchestrated this to polarise the atmosphere and divert the attention from real issues... We would like to hear from the Prime Minister because he is the leader of the BJP. In the Winter Session (of Parliament), he said he had taken a strong note of this (of controversial statements made by party MPs) and assured us that it will not be repeated," Sharma said.

JD(U) leader K C Tyagi said, "There should not be any difference in what they say and what they do-- Mohan Bhagwat and all other members of the Sangh. "It should be mandatory for them to get married and produce five children. Then they should request the Hindu
community. That will be better."

BJP's national Secretary Shrikant Sharma said the party has asked its public representatives and workers not to make such comments in public. "The remarks made by Sakshi Maharaj are his personal and the party has nothing to do with it," he added.