‘Those with more than two children should not have voting rights’

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The Statesman, India :

A day after backing calls for legislation for a Ram temple in Ayodhya, yoga guru Baba Ramdev connected people’s right to have children to their voting rights during a seminar in Haridwar on Sunday.

Addressing a gathering at the Gyan Kumbh, the 52-year-old yoga guru said that people who have more than two children should be stripped off their voting rights.

“Is desh mein jo hamari tarah se vivah na kare unka vishesh samman hona chahiye, aur vivah kare to do se jyada santaan paida kare to uski voting right nahi honi chahiye, (Those who remain unmarried like me should be specially honoured in this country. And those who marry and have more than two children should not have voting right),” said Ramdev.

While those in the gathering broke into applause, the yoga guru went on saying that the matter is a national issue given that India’s population is now over 125 crores.

This is the second time in two days that the yoga guru commented on a contentious issue.

On Saturday, in Dehradun, Ramdev joined the calls for a legislation to pave the way for the construction of a Ram temple if the Supreme Court did not deliver a verdict soon.

On the sidelines of a two-day Patanjali conference, the yoga guru told reporters that there are sections who may not like the idea of legislation but no one opposes Ram in India.

“Ayodhya mein Ram Mandir nahin banega toh aur kya banega (What else will be built in Ayodhya if not a Ram temple?),” Ramdev questioned.

On 29 October, the Supreme Court declined an urgent hearing of the Ayodhya land dispute case saying that “appropriate bench” will decide in January when to hear the politically-sensitive case.

Since then there has been a growing chorus for legislation for the Ram temple. The RSS and VHP have been mounting pressure on the Modi government to bring an ordinance to start the construction of a temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.

The Congress and Muslim groups have said they would want all stakeholders to wait for the apex court verdict and not rush to resolve the issue through legislation.

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