The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh is mulling a proposal to include a two-child norm and a minimum education clause for candidates contesting the panchayat polls in the state expected to be held early next year.
Panchayati Raj Additional Chief Secretary, Manoj Kumar Singh said that the proposal was under active consideration and could take a formal shape soon.
Last month, Union Minister Sanjeev Balyan made an appeal to the Uttar Pradesh government to bring a law and bar those having more than two children from contesting the polls.
Several states, like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, have brought their own laws restricting people with more than two children from contesting local body elections.
Uttarakhand had also introduced a similar law, but the state high court later struck it down.
In a letter, Balyan expressed apprehension over Uttar Pradesh’s population which is now more than 23 crore. He claimed that if the state imposes this law, it will set a precedent and help bring down the population.
“Our state should start a campaign to control the population. And it can be started from the next panchayat poll. Anyone who has more than two children should not be allowed to contest the next poll.”
Meanwhile, several opposition parties have objected to the proposal on the grounds that it was “unjust and arbitrary”.
The Samajwadi Party said that the move was aimed at depriving the lower classes from contesting panchayat elections.
Party spokesman Anurag Bhadauria said that the move is “unconstitutional” since it will prevent the weak and the downtrodden form contesting elections due to the minimum education clause.
Congress leader Surendra Rajput said that the proposed rules were against the spirit of Panchayati Raj system that sought to empower the weaker sections and bring them into the political mainstream.
“While we agree on the need to check population but this is certainly not the way to do so,” he said.
The Uttar Pradesh Gram Pradhan Sangh said that the proposal was being finalised without taking them into confidence and threatened to oppose it, if implemented.