Nitish Kumar’s Controversial Population Control Remark and Apology
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar found himself at the center of a controversy after making a remark on population control, highlighting the role of education among women in controlling population growth on 7th October 2023 (Tuesday). On 8th October 2023 (Wednesday), he subsequently issued an apology in response to widespread condemnation from various quarters.
Apology: Clarification and Regret
Acknowledging the criticism his statement received, Nitish Kumar issued an apology, expressing regret for any hurt caused. He emphasized that his intention was not to offend but to stress the importance of education for population control, along with his commitment to women’s empowerment and development.
The Controversial Remark: Education and Population Control
In his initial statement, Nitish Kumar emphasized the significance of women’s education in addressing population growth. He provided a vivid description in the state assembly of how educated women could influence family planning by restraining their husbands during sexual intercourse. His comments suggested that education empowered women to make informed decisions about family size.
Strong Condemnation: Accusations of Misogyny and Vulgarity
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) swiftly condemned Kumar’s remarks, describing them as “most misogynistic, vulgar, and patriarchal.” They demanded his resignation, asserting that his statements had tarnished the dignity and decorum of democracy. Union Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey accused Kumar of making a shameful statement in the Assembly, questioning his mental state and suggesting he should resign.
A Sharp Response from the BJP: Demanding Accountability
The BJP’s national spokesperson, Shehzad Poonawalla, characterized Nitish Kumar’s language as vulgar, indecent, misogynistic, sexist, and patriarchal. He expressed deep concern over the Chief Minister’s comments and speculated on the impact such language would have on the women of Bihar if spoken in the Assembly. The BJP’s stance suggested that the comments were unfitting for a political leader and constituted a step backward in gender equality.
Clarification by State Deputy CM: Addressing Misinterpretation
State Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav clarified Nitish Kumar’s statement, asserting that it was about sex education. He argued against misinterpreting Kumar’s words, highlighting that sex education is part of the school curriculum. He stated that Kumar discussed practical ways to control the population and urged the public to view it as sex education rather than making incorrect assumptions.
Strong Response from the National Commission for Women: Denouncing Derogatory Remarks
The National Commission for Women (NCW) joined the chorus of condemnation against Nitish Kumar’s derogatory remarks. The NCW expressed deep concern over Kumar’s statements, describing them as resembling dialogue from a low-quality movie, and highlighting the inappropriate laughter from male lawmakers present in the Assembly. The NCW called upon the Bihar Assembly Speaker to take appropriate action and expunge the comments.
Support from a Congress MLA: Defending the Chief Minister
Amidst the controversy, Congress MLA Neetu Devi, part of the ruling alliance, defended Nitish Kumar, stating that his comments were made with good intentions. She accused the BJP of mischief, suggesting that Kumar was trying to make a simple point rather than making offensive remarks.
Prashant Kishor’s Critique: A Response to Tejashwi Yadav
On 8th October 2023 (Wednesday), former poll strategist Prashant Kishor criticized Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav for defending Nitish Kumar’s controversial remarks. Kishor highlighted that Tejashwi Yadav, who did not complete ninth grade, lacks the knowledge to discuss sex education. He challenged Yadav to disclose which school he attended and where he received sex education.
Kishor pointed out that sex education in schools is not taught using vulgar and explicit language like that used by the Chief Minister in the assembly. He suggested that Yadav should initiate door-to-door sex education to understand how people would react to it.
Kishor also emphasized that discussions about sex education should be conducted with sensitivity and respect for societal norms and values.
A Controversial Remark Sparks Debate and Reflection
Nitish Kumar’s controversial remark about population control and the subsequent uproar underscore the importance of responsible and respectful communication, particularly by political leaders. The incident has generated a significant debate about sex education, gender equality, and the appropriateness of language used in public discourse. It serves as a reminder of the role and responsibility of leaders in shaping public discourse and promoting gender-sensitive policies and practices.