Is UP population law to counter Akhilesh’s ‘soft Hindutva’ approach, deflect focus away from Covid ‘mismanagement’ allegations?

Is UP population law to counter Akhilesh’s ‘soft Hindutva’ approach,  deflect focus away from Covid ‘mismanagement’ allegations?

Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 13       

From politics to the legal nitty-gritty, the Uttar Pradesh law commission’s proposed population control bill is expected to be judged on various parameters.

However, amid the popular view that the “politically-motivated” move to polarise ahead of upcoming assembly elections is bound to fail in the court of law even if it is enacted”, sources in the Samajwadi Party are pointing towards another interesting angle.

A senior Samajwadi Party leader, who did not wish to be named, believes it to be a move to circumvent the “soft Hindutva” approach adopted by SP chief Akhilesh Yadav to get rid of his “pro-Muslim” image ahead of the 2022 elections. He was also seen on a “temple run” before the second wave of coronavirus-locked the state. The regional party, which is emerging as the BJP’s main challenger in these elections, is often accused of “tushtikaran” (appeasement) by the saffron party.

The SP leader, who call it an “obvious attempt to divert attention from the prevailing anger over mismanagement” of coronavirus by the Adityanath government, also says that they have been told “to refrain from making statements/actions that can be interpreted/ used by the BJP as ‘tushtikaran’ of Muslims by the party”.

“In current circumstances, the normal mode of polarisation will not work. BJP supporters may still not vote for a Muslim candidate but the divisions that erupted in the region after the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots are no longer so deep. A major contributor to this change has been the farmers’ agitation and the mismanagement by the government during the Covid pandemic,” he claims.     

Interestingly, when Yadav began his election campaign from Chitrakoot, he was also accused of peddling “soft Hindutva” by detractors. Last year the former UP CM also visited Ayodhya, where the Ram Mandir is being built, to emphasise all the “religious work” his party has done in the city. Since then, he has been to several temples and met saints to seek their blessings, the pictures of which were also posted on his social media account. He has also announced that no tax would be collected from religious places if his party is elected next year.  

According to the draft of the proposed population control bill, the Uttar Pradesh Population (Control, Stabilization and Welfare) Bill, 2021, anyone violating two-child policy in Uttar Pradesh will be barred from contesting local bodies elections, from applying for or getting promotion in government jobs, and receiving any kind of government subsidy. Opposition parties have reacted cautiously over the move, perceived as specifically targeting the minority community. 



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