By Anindya Banerjee New Delhi, Dec 5 : After the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A and the Union Cabinet approving the Citizenship Amendment Bill, what’s next?
Delhi BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay is now meeting various RSS functionaries and party leaders to convince them that no amendment to the Constitution is required to bring a law to curb India’s explosive population.
“Everytime I meet senior leaders, I realise that there is a misconception that we need to amend the Constitution to bring such a law. The truth is, through the 42nd Amendment which took place in 1976, the roadblocks were cleared for bringing such a law,” said Upadhyay.
He claimed that in the same amendment which took place at the behest of Congress leader late Sanjay Gandhi, entry no. 20A was inserted to Schedule 7 and List 3 of the Constitution.
List 3 is a concurrent list, which allows the state or the Centre to bring laws. Upadhyay, who is lobbying in his personal capacity, has been lately giving crash courses to senior BJP and RSS functionaries to make his case.
So far he has met Ram Lal, who was BJP’s General Secretary (organisation) and has now been repatriated to RSS, Sangh leader Indresh Kumar and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Vice President Champat Rai to convince them.
Among the BJP top leadership, he has met Union Minister Giriraj Singh multiple times and is working closely with him. Sources said he has also met BJP’s Kerala leader K.J. Alphons and Union Minister Harsh Vardhan to bring home his point.
Speaking to IANS, Upadhyay said the phrase “population control and family planning” was added at the time of the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution and political will was all it needed to introduce a law.
The much controversial amendment was perceived to have taken place under the influence of Sanjay Gandhi, son of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Sanjay Gandhi’s interest in forcible population control is no secret.
In fact, historian Bipan Chandra wrote, “Sanjay Gandhi and his cronies like Bansi Lal, Minister of Defence at the time, were keen on postponing elections and prolonging the emergency by several years. In October-November 1976, an effort was made to change the basic civil libertarian structure of the Indian Constitution through the 42nd Amendment to it.”
Now, the same controversial amendment to the Constitution is being resurrected from the ashes by this BJP leader to demand a strict law by the Narendra Modi government to control population. Earlier, Upadhyay had held conclaves in Delhi and walked along with Giriraj Singh from Meerut to Delhi with the same demand.
It is unclear whether the government will be all ears to Upadhyay’s suggestion.
When asked about the reason for his aggressive campaign, the BJP leader replied, “Since the 42nd Amendment, we had words like secularism, socialism and integrity added to the preamble. But India can’t be a ‘sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic’ in the true sense unless we control the explosive population. It’s time we do it.”
(Anindya Banerjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)