Nitish Kumar says sorry, Tejashwi defends remarks
Kumar's comment on the importance of women's education to control the population also raised a storm on social media on Tuesday
The public outcry caused by certain remarks about women's education and birth control made by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in the state assembly on Tuesday continued on Wednesday, with the BJP even demanding that he resign, despite an apology that Kumar tendered on video.
The party's Bihar unit charged Kumar with "bringing shame" to the state's women by speaking of the procreation process in detail. BJP MLAs Gayatri Devi and Sweety Hembram told reporters that "age has caught up with the chief minister who seems to have lost all sense of propriety".
Speaking to reporters in Patna, Kumar later said, "I apologise and take back my words. If anyone got hurt, I take them back," he said. "I have always maintained that education is necessary for population control. I have also stood for women's empowerment and development."
Speaking at an election rally in Madhya Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "No one can imagine using such language. And he has no shame."
Minister of state Ashwini Kumar Choubey said "no parliamentary member has ever used such language", and Nitish should "resign" and apologise to the nation.
Kumar's comment on the importance of women's education to control the population also raised a storm on social media on Tuesday.
Emphasising the importance of education among women to control the population, Kumar put forward a vivid description in the assembly of how an educated woman can restrain her husband during sexual intercourse.
"The husband's acts lead to more births. However, with education, a woman knows how to restrain him... this is the reason the numbers (of births) are coming down," he said, in fairly direct language. "You, journalists also understand it well. Earlier it (fertility rate) was 4.3, but it has now reached 2.9. And, soon we will reach 2," he added.
National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma termed the remarks as crass. "NCW on behalf of every woman in this country demands an immediate and unequivocal apology from the CM. His crass remarks in the Vidhan Sabha are an affront to the dignity and respect that every woman deserves," she said.
Bihar deputy chief minister Tejaswi Yadav, however, came to the chief minister's rescue, saying: "People are sometimes embarrassed talking about it, but sex education is taught in schools. It’s biology, children study it. He was talking about population control, people should not misinterpret it."
Hours after tabling the caste survey report in the assembly, the Bihar cabinet passed a proposal to raise the quota for Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs), and Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) to a total of 75 per cent from the existing 50 per cent.
A bill will be presented in the assembly during the ongoing session, possibly this week, according to sources in the cabinet.
Kumar made a statement in this regard while concluding the debate on the caste survey report. Kumar’s announcement comes months ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.