Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Uttar Pradesh on Monday asked that the debate on triple talaq not be politicised or be made a communal issue. "Is it fair for a man to say talaq three times over the phone and ruin a Muslim woman's life?" he said, referring to practise of divorce through uttering the word “talaq” thrice. "I request people who participate in TV debates to not turn [the subject of] women's rights into a Hindu-Muslim issue. Women's rights is a development issue."
Modi's comments on the issue come as the Supreme Court examines the validity of the practise and had asked the government to respond to a batch of petitions on the rights of Muslim women that challenged triple talaq. He also called for the implementation of measures to ensure equal rights for women. "I am surprised that for vote-bank politics, some parties want to keep Muslim women bereft of their natural rights," the prime minister said during the Bharatiya Janata Party's election campaign in Mahoba.
At the event, he urged all attendees to "break the cycle" of the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party in the state and instead, choose to transform Uttar Pradesh into an "Uttam Pradesh". "Both SP and BSP loot the state during their terms. When one comes to power, they never take action against the other," Modi said. "During the elections this time, on one side we have those who want to save their family, and on the other, there are those who only want power. Then there's the BJP that only wants to save UP."
Modi's statements come amid infighting in the ruling Samajwadi Party, which began after party president Mulayam Singh Yadav appointed his brother as the outfit's state unit chief. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has sacked Shivpal from his state Cabinet posts twice since the rift in the family began.
The prime minister also brought up the state of farmers in the state's drought-hit Bundelkhand region. He accused the state government providing farmers with no help even though the Centre had disbursed funds for some projects. "The farmers here have faced injustice. This land is capable of reaping gold, but farmers here get no water," Modi said.