Union minister Giriraj Singh on Thursday suggested that the voting rights of those with more than two children should be revoked, PTI reported. On World Population Day, the minister of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries expressed shock over the “population explosion” in the country since the Independence.

“In India, population explosion is disturbing the balance of economy, social harmony and resources,” Singh said. “Religious interference is also a reason related to population control. Like in 1947, India is heading towards division on the basis of culture.”

The Union minister urged political parties to come up with laws related to population control. Singh also shared a graphic on Twitter of India’s population growth, which showed that it had increased by 366% between 1947 and 2019. The graphic also compared the growth to a 113% increase in the United States.

“I hold the view that those who have more than two children should be stripped of their voting rights,” PTI quoted Singh as saying to news channels. “And this provision must be applicable to all communities. No exemption should be made for any religious group just because it insists that its tenets disapprove of birth control measures.”

Singh’s comments were criticised by Bihar Rashtriya Janata Dal President Ram Chandra Purbe, who said that Singh had indulged in petty politics as he blamed the minority communities for the overpopulation.

“From where does the Union minister get such fanciful ideas?” asked Congress leader Prem Chandra Mishra. “Can he point out any provision in the Constitution under which a person can be disenfranchised for having more than a specified number of children?”