New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Sakshi Maharaj on Tuesday denied receiving any showcause notice from the party over his controversial statement that a Hindu woman must give birth to at least four children to protect the religion.
Asserting that it was an "internal matter" of the party, the parliamentarian from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh, who was served the notice by the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday, denied he has received any.
"I will talk to my party, not to you," he told reporters here.
According to BJP sources, the show-cause notice has asked the MP to respond within 10 days why he made the controversial statements despite instructions from the party not to do so.
"I have not got any notice yet. I will respond to the notice if I get it... Even if I get any notice, it is an internal matter of the party. I will not discuss it with media," he said.
In response to questions from reporters, Sakshi Maharaj kept on repeating: "I am not aware of any notice. I have not got any notice."
Asked if any action could be taken against him, he shot back at a reporter and said: "Would the action be taken against you? Why are you worried about it?"
However, party spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao told a news agency that action was taken as the MP made the statement despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi's instruction to legislators to restrain from making such comments.
"A strong message was given during winter session (of parliament) by the prime minister that MPs should not make controversial statements," Rao told IANS.
"That advisory was violated, so a notice was issued," he said.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh BJP president Laxmikant Bajpai said that the notice has been sent to Maharaj.
“It is possible that there was a delay in the notice reaching him (Sakshi Maharaj), but it has been sent,” insisted Bajpai.
The opposition Congress said the showcause notice was not enough.
"Sakshi Maharaj is symbolic of politics of division. There are many Sakshi Maharajas in BJP... The PM's silence and such mild action encourages such statements," Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.
Addressing a gathering in Meerut, Sakshi Maharaj said the concept of four wives and 40 children will not work in India and the time has come when "a Hindu woman must produce at least four children" in order to protect Hindu religion.
The BJP distanced itself from the comment, and party president Amit Shah said such comments were "damaging".
An official statement from the party's national secretary Shrikant Sharma requested party workers to "concentrate all their efforts in the promotion of all the work being done for public benefit and should distance themselves from unnecessary opinionated statements".
The MP had earlier been involved in a controversy over his comment calling Mahatma Gandhi's killer Nathuram Godse a "patriot".
During the Winter Session of Parliament, the Prime Minister, at a meeting of the parliamentary party of the BJP, had asked MPs not to make controversial statements.
This came following a statement by Union Minister of State Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti using abusive language during a public meeting.
The minister had said: "Aapko tay karna hai ki Dilli mein sarkar Ramzadon ki banegi ya haramzadon ki." (You have to decide if you want a government in Delhi to be led by the children of Lord Ram or illegitimate children).
The Winter Session also witnessed repeated protests by the opposition, demanding a clarification from Modi over conversions and communal statements.
(With Agency inputs)