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Prime Minister Narendra Modi's push for population control in the country prompted key ally Shiv Sena on Friday to target a section of the Muslim community while senior Congress leader P Chidambaram welcomed his stand and said this should become a "people's movement".

As the Sena hailed Modi's message in his Independence Day address on Thursday, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi alleged that the prime minister was coming up with "discarded and intrusive" ideas of governance.

Alleging that a section of the minority community does not understand the importance of curbing population growth, an editorial in Sena mouthpiece 'Saamana' also said that Modi will find a way to implement the concept of simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.

By scrapping Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and enacting a law to penalise the practice of instant triple talaq by Muslim men, the prime minister had given a message, the BJP ally said but did not elaborate.

"Hence, he will solve the issue of population explosion and (implement) the 'one-nation-one-election' concept," said the editorial.

The Sena said it agreed with Modi's argument that a large section of society understands the dangers of population explosion and practices family planning.

"However, fundamentalist Muslims are not concerned about population explosion and are not ready to come out of the mindset of "hum do humare pacchis" (we two, our 25 children)," the editorial alleged.

The prime minister was also right in asking that if a practice like 'Sati' can be eradicated, why not triple talaq, it said.

Modi in his address expressed concern over the "population explosion" in the country, saying it causes innumerable challenges for the coming generations, and asserted that the central and state governments should launch measures to deal with the issue.

Keeping one's families small is an act of patriotism and those who do so deserve our respect and need to be felicitated, he said.

Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Sena MP and party spokesperson Sanjay Raut said Modi echoed Sena founder late Bal Thackeray's views on population control.

"Bal Thackeray always advocated need for population control. The NDA government under Modi is espousing the policies of the Shiv Sena," he said.

The law banning triple talaq was a step towards Uniform Civil Code, said Raut, who edits 'Saamana'.

Sena president Uddhav Thackeray said religion should not be mixed up with issues of national interest.

"How can one state have separate powers? The Modi government has removed this (anomaly)," he said, referring to the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.

Chidambaram welcomed Modi's announcements on population control, respect for wealth creators and shunning single-use plastic, and hoped the finance minister and tax officials would heed to his exhortation.

"All of us must welcome three announcements made by the PM on I-Day. Small family is a patriotic duty; Respect wealth creators and Shun single-use plastic.

"Of the three exhortations, I hope the FM(Nirmala Sitharaman) and her legion of tax officials and investigators heard the PM's second exhortation loud and clear," he said.

Chidambaram, a former finance and home minister, said, "The first and third exhortations must become people's movements. There are hundreds of dedicated voluntary organisations that are willing to lead the movements at local levels." 

In a tweet, Owaisi said though majority of India's population is young and productive, the advantage will last only for two more decades.

Taking a jibe at Modi, Owaisi alleged he is 'clueless' on how to use this advantage.

"Majority of India is young & productive, but this advantage will only last till 2040. @PMOIndia is clueless about what how to utilise this advantage, so he's coming up with discarded & intrusive ideas of governance that shirk his own responsibility (sic)," he tweeted.
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